Call me crazy, but the entire point of Uber is having one point of contact for your ride needs, anywhere in the world. I don’t want to learn about the newest apps, or the “Uber” of Lithuania or anything of the sort. I just want to have the one trusty app to fire up, and grab a ride with the credit card and other details already filled in. That feat will now become increasingly hard, as Uber retreats from multiple major markets.
There’s widespread speculation that Uber is selling off it’s less profitable foreign businesses in anticipation of an initial public offering. Uber has just officially pulled out of Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Myanmar – selling its business to popular regional ride sharing app Grab. Why do you care? Because the Uber app will no longer work in any of these countries. If you need a ride, you’ll need to “grab” the Grab app, or another ride platform.
Uber Picking Up Investments
Launching such a large scale business in competitive foreign markets is no easy feat. Rather than continue to hemorrhage money in Asia, as was the case in China – where Uber was estimated to be losing 1bn a year, Uber will now pick up a 27% stake in ride sharing platform Grab. This will see Uber’s exit from the region coupled with a 27% stake in a company with a 6bn valuation. Grab has 86 million app downloads and operates in 190 Southeast Asian cities.
Good For Business, But
In China, it’s Didi – in Southeast Asia it’s Grab, in India it’s Ola. Uber sought to disrupt the taxi business by offering a streamlined approach from anywhere in the world – yet it now feels as if we’re headed back to a time when you needed to learn about the local firms to get anywhere. It may be an “app” instead of a phone number, but “hail a ride anywhere” now comes with asterisks. Ground transportation to a growing number of countries will once again require research, rather than simplicity. You could say Uber was globalism gone mad, but it worked really well for its users.