Uber’s IPO filing in the US cites Ola, Zomato, and Swiggy as threats to its India business

Uber sign is seen on a car in New York, U.S., April 12, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
  • Uber is expected to launch one of the biggest IPOs in years.
  • The San Francisco-based company is expected to be valued at $100 billion.
  • India, which is one of Uber’s biggest markets, found several mentions in the filing document.
Uber finally filed for its much talked about IPO, just weeks after its global rival Lyft went public. And in Uber’s long IPO filing document, India’s finds at least 24 mentions.

Uber has always maintained that India is one of its biggest markets, since its entry in the market in 2013. Six years later, Uber runs 30 million cars in India, as mentioned in its IPO filing, with US being its biggest market. Uber also reported 2018 revenue of $11.27 billion and net income of $997 million.

For its India business, competition takes centrestage and Uber has not missed out on talking about it. In the filing, mentioning its offering Uber Eats, the company said that it competes with Swiggy and Zomato, who have a “substantial market-specific knowledge and established relationships with local restaurants, affording them significant product advantages.”

The company also further stated that these “competitors may be able to respond more quickly and effectively than us in such markets to new or changing opportunities, technologies, consumer preferences, regulations, or standards, which may render our products or offerings less attractive”.

Interestingly, it was reported that Swiggy was in talks with Uber Eats to acquire their India business. However, the deal came to a hold as both companies didn’t agree on financial terms.

Uber, which has been subject to many protests and dissatisfaction from its Indian drivers, also mentioned the same in the filing. A lot of the protests have been about Uber’s cancellation of initiatives that it had earlier offered drivers to bring them on board.

In its filing, Uber says that in order to improve its financial performance (with its IPO the company also reported losses of $1.8 billion), it will have to reduce driver incentives which will then increase driver dissatisfaction. “Any decline in the number of Drivers, consumers, restaurants, shippers, or carriers using our platform would reduce the value of our network and would harm our future operating results,” the company stated in the filing.

However, the company also stated that its business depends substantially on operations outside of the US, India being one of them. India was also the first country where Uber allowed consumers to pay in cash, and then followed it up with other countries. “In 2018, cash-paid trips accounted for nearly 13% of our global Gross Bookings,” the company said.

And of course, the document also mentioned surge-pricing, one of the reasons why the company has often faced the wrath of its consumers. In India, after a petition was filed in the Delhi High Court in 2016, the company agreed to “not calculate consumer fares in excess of the maximum government-mandated fares in New Delhi, India”.

User safety has reportedly been one of Uber’s biggest promises in India, which has also led the company to develop SOS features. The company mentioned the case where an Uber driver had raped an Indian female user in New Delhi in 2014.

While it clarified that the company does carry out necessary background checks for drivers, it informed that such incidents “could have an adverse impact on our reputation, business, financial condition, and operating results.''

See Also:
Ola gets fresh funds to take on Mahindra’s Glyd – where’s Uber?
Uber and Ola have a new challenger in India – and it’s a large car maker
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