Uber has launched its UberEATS service in India, where it will initially be available in Mumbai before expanding into six additional cities before the end of the year.
According to TechCrunch, the company did not disclose which cities it will hit. But Mumbai is a good place to start, since it is one of India’s three business hubs and a city with an estimated population of 20 million people.
“Mumbai is home to a booming food industry with a vibrant food culture offering both global and local cuisines. The introduction of UberEATS in India, with Mumbai as the first city, is a major step in our global expansion and showcases our commitment to the region,” Bhavik Rathod, head of UberEATS India, said in a statement.
UberEATS began as a pilot project in 2014 in Los Angeles inside the core Uber app before it eventually got its own standalone app. Today, the service is in 78 cities across 26 countries worldwide. Uber has added some recent updates to the app, including tailored recommendations, customizable drop-off directions for drivers and new filtering options, as well as a restaurant management service that helps restaurant partners get actionable insight through data.
India is a huge global opportunity, and it is one that Uber is more committed to than ever after exiting the Chinese market. India’s online population is expected to reach 450 million-465 million people by June 2017, with eCommerce sales estimated to reach $48 billion by 2020.
But UberEATS has some stiff competition in Mumbai, such as FoodPanda, Swiggy and Zomato. Last month, Google even ventured into the space with its own service for ordering food or home services. And Ola, Uber’s on-demand ride rival in India, also dabbled in food, but its program closed down last year after less than 12 months in operation.