India an important market for Uber: CEO Dara Khosrowshahi


"The greatest value that we can create [in India] is to continue to invest and grow our business here, not just for India but the role it is going to play in shaping our product for the rest of the world", Khosrowshahi told reporters in New Delhi on Thurday, before attending the Global Business Summit.

"SoftBank is a respected investor, but ultimately, the strategies that we undertake are the strategies that I am driving as the CEO of the company in concert with the board", said Khosrowshahi on Thursday. "We will look at anything", Khosrowshahi said, "but right now, the plan [for Southeast Asia and India] is to go forward, lean forward, and continue to invest".

He added that the next step in India for the company was to "become more local", which included ramping up hiring here. In addition to working on the vehicles that will carry passengers, Uber in November announced that it had partnered with NASA to develop an air traffic management system that will keep those passengers safe.

He also identified Elevate, the proposed air taxi, as a key transport solution to address congestion in the future and said the product could be in the market in five-10 years. They are smart, they are driven, and they are entrepreneurial. Uber has leveraged its global cash machine advantage and massive funding it has raised, while Ola has had to rely exclusively on the equity capital it has raised from investors such as Softbank and Tiger Global. The U.S. -based firm already offers its food delivery service Uber Eats.

"We have a big business in India, but it is essentially a taxi-hailing company, it is not about auto sharing". "I don't want to categorically state, or characterise any discussions that we may or may not be having".

Uber is also "looking at India as an expansion opportunity" for its new Express Pool feature, which was recently rolled out in the U.S. Its CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the country, identified as a key growth market, will remain in focus and investor SoftBank may not exclusively drive the strategy.

For Uber, India is a loss-making proposition but it will continue to invest in the market because it believes in it, he said at the start of his two-day visit during which he is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders.

"We should actively be investing in markets like India and Latin America that have huge growth ahead of us", he said.

On U.S. President Donald Trump's immigration policy, Mr. Khosrowshahi said, "Immigration really made the U.S. what it is now as a leading nation".

At the Niti Aayog event, he said immigration was at the core of the US success story, criticising US President Donald Trump for wanting to restrict the flow of people.