Ride-hailing platform, Ola is expanding its services into Australia with special offers for Aussie riders and drivers. It’ll be the third ride-sharing type service in the country, alongside Uber and Taxify and expects to adapt to the local challenges quickly.
On a warm April morning, Kostas Karras picks up a passenger from The Rocks in the shadow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. On the windshield of his blue Mazda CX7, the 42-year-old genial driver has put a new sticker with a greenish yellow circle: Ola.
India’s leading ride-hailing platform has driven to Down Under in its first overseas expansion. In what is seen as an audacious foray, Ola launched in Perth in February and in Sydney in March.
Last week, Ola, which raised $1.1 billion in 2017, expanded to Melbourne. The company plans to extend its presence to other cities, including Brisbane, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Darwin and Hobart, over the coming months.
What has made Ola go to Australia? Uber, which entered the market in 2012, has shaken it up. Taxify, a European company, launched operations late last year. Then there is competition from local players such as GoCatch, iHail and GM Cabs.
Chandra Nath, who took over as vice-president and head of international, Ola, six months ago, told ET Magazine in Sydney that the time was right to take the company global. “It was obvious when I joined that the scale of our operations — a large engineering team and 125 million users across 110 Indian cities — was robust enough to go global,” he says. “We spoke to regulators and government agencies and were attracted by the principles of fair competition in Australia. It is also a large market with diversity — this made the decision easy, given our experience in India.”
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