Uber is now riding across 100 cities with plans to double this count very soon. The impact of the pandemic is still very visible with COVID-19 pulling the handbrake on the mobility sector.
With restrictions easing and the pandemic more in control, riders are back and so are the drivers, allowing Uber to taper incentives, which has led to much-improved financials in the quarter gone by. In fact, it even reported an adjusted operating profit, its first-ever as a public company.
So while mobility is picking up, it is the delivery segment which has sustained Uber's ride during the last 18 months and it continues to do so even now - matching mobility bumper-to-bumper in terms of revenue and gross bookings.
In the long term, the company has announced its intention to go completely electric with zero carbon emissions by 2030. It is signing deals with energy providers to quickly develop EV ecosystems on both sides of the Atlantic.
CNBC-TV18’s Shereen Bhan spoke to Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber, to tell us how Uber plans to ride into the future, both in India and abroad.
On global recovery Khosrowshahi said, “We feel quite confident based on all the patterns that we are seeing, obviously, we have gone through an incredibly difficult time, but what we are seeing consistently now is cities are opening up and on a global basis, our mobility business continues to improve.”
On delivery business he said, “Our mobility businesses is the profit engine of the company and then what we have seen is the delivery business has absolutely exploded. We are now investing in grocery and other categories as well. So as a company now we are really hitting on all engines and as the world opens up, we have a very, very strong prospect ahead of us.”
On India business and exit from Uber Eats Khosrowshahi said, “We really wanted to focus on delivery business in markets where we could be the leader, we could get to a number one position.”
"We are excited about partnering with WhatsApp to allow riders in India to book a ride on WhatsApp, which is a global first," he added.
On his opinion on IPO market he said, “I think markets can be unpredictable and individual stocks and how they perform can be again very difficult to predict. But I think if you get the fundamentals right, and the fundamentals are about growth, they are about providing a great service to the customer and ultimately being able to do so in a profitable way, then good things will come to you. You can't predict the timing, as it relates to these outcomes and positive outcomes. But you usually can predict the outcome.”
On expansion Khosrowshahi said, “We are going to continue to invest in and open up additional cities, whether we hit the 200, in a year or two years remains to be seen. It depends on the market dynamics, but really the focus on India is making sure that the Uber service is available to a higher and higher percentage of the population and expanding our service, four-wheelers, two-wheelers, three-wheelers, as well as introducing products such as rentals, and intercity transportation as well.”
For full interview, watch accompanying video...