Ride-sharing service Ola is stepping out of its home to test international waters. The Indian transportation company announced its plans of extending its presence in the market of Australia.
As part of the expansion, the company has invited private hire vehicle owners in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth to learn more about driving and registering with Ola. The company plans to launch in the country early this year. However, the commercial operations will be subject to regulatory approvals.
“We are very excited about launching Ola in Australia and see immense potential for the ride-sharing ecosystem which embraces new technology and innovation,” Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder, and CEO, Ola said in a company statement. He further added, “With a strong focus on driver-partners and the community at large, we aim to create a high-quality and affordable travel experience for citizens and look forward to contributing to a healthy mobility ecosystem in Australia.”
Ola, founded in 2011, has grown to become one of India’s leading private transportation providers. Rivaled by Uber, the company boasts over 125 million users in India, with over 1 million driver-partners across 110 plus cities. Ola serves about a billion rides annually through its app-based platform.
Once launched, Ola will be taking prime competitor Uber head-on in the Australian market. The timing of entering an international expansion could not have been better as Uber reels deep under crisis with multiple investigations questioning the company’s toxic culture, discrimination, and the resultant departure of key board members.
Despite the crisis, as of December 2017, Uber reportedly recorded nearly 3.7 million travelers in Australia in the previous three months.
Meanwhile, Ola is continuing to woo the Indian market with its efforts. Late last year, the company introduced a ‘Lite’ version of its app that works on the lowest internet connectivity. The app is especially targeted at users in tier II and tier III cities in India. The Ola Lite app is less than 1MB in size, and loads within three seconds without compromising on the booking experience.