NEW DELHI: Indian ride-hailing firm Ola said on Tuesday it plans to launch services in Britain this year, months after expanding operations in Australia, intensifying its rivalry with US peer Uber Technologies Inc.
Ola has obtained licenses to begin operations in South Wales in September, as well as Greater Manchester, and plans to expand nationwide by the end of the year, it said in a statement.
The firm will offer private vehicles for hire as well as Britain’s famous black cabs on its platform, and will add more transportation options going forward.
Ola and Uber, which both count Japan’s SoftBank Group as an investor, have been competing in India’s $12 billion taxi market and in recent months have taken their rivalry overseas.
Ola is targeting high-booking markets in search of profitability because in India, less loyal consumers demanding low-cost rides makes competition more intense, said Neil Shah, research director at consultancy Counterpoint Research.
In February, Ola launched operations in Australia, its first foray outside India and in one of Uber’s strongholds where the Indian company now has 40,000 drivers on its platform across seven cities.
Uber has a presence in Britain as well.
“This could put pressure on Uber and cause them to possibly merge in India,” said Shah, adding that Ola could use its international expansion strategy into Uber territories as leverage.