The hallmark ride-sharing company Uber is already an established player on the U.S. and world market. Still, in Asia, it may soon hit a bump in its expansive path.
The Asian region is now ridden by new ambitious players in the game. Ola, Didi Kuaidi and GrabTaxi are growing by the day and their status as serious competitors to Uber is also rising, fueled by cash from both Asian and U.S. investors.
Ola, the startup that began its journey in Bangalore is now most popular in India. Didi Kuaidi, starting the business in Beijing is now present in key locations across China and is quite popular, while GrabTaxi, based in Kuala Lumpur has opened the doors to a network of offices than span Southeast Asia.
Are the fears that Uber may be driven out of the Asian market short-sighted? It’s hard to tell. However, there is serious reason for concern. As the investor portfolio is starting to overlap and more cash is being funneled in these three main Uber competitors, it could be that in the near future Ola, Didi Kuaidi and GrabTaxi could merge under one umbrella that certainly overthrows Uber.
For now, the three major players on the Asian market are collectively estimated at 6.9 billion dollars. That represents an estimated 70 percent of Uber’s overall funding. Who are the main investors? From the U.S., Coatue Management hedge fund and Tiger Global venture capital company funneling funds in India, while from Japan Softbank is taking the reins of aggressive investment in Asia.
Sure, from this perspective, the future estimates look bleak. Still, comparing the companies that represent Uber’s main competitors in Asia is a difficult task. It seems that realistic estimates are hard to pinpoint when there are reports of daily trip volume, yet registered drivers reports lack or the situation is the other way around.
Speaking of volume, some of the companies count already registered municipal taxis in their reports. Other companies don’t, although they work on the same principle. And then there is an issue of overall numbers. With so many factors and numbers officially lacking, there are some concerns that what reaches the public are much inflated numbers, favoring a brighter picture for one company or the other than the reality would really show. Market-by-market reports of revenues are not disclosed. Nor are profits.
Thus, is Uber really in danger of holding a marginal spot in the ride-sharing economy in Asia? It’s hard to tell. While caution is recommended, so is a pinch of salt when it comes to strategies the sole purpose of which may be to consolidate the market image of one or another company.
Photo Credits: Flickr