“We are excited to officially start operating on the east coast with the launch in Sydney,” Chandra Nath, VP and head of International for Ola, said in a statement. “We’ve been very pleased with how the service has been received by customers, driver-partners and the community in Perth and can’t wait to continue building on these experiences and learnings for our second city launch.”
To make its service competitive, Ola will offer various promotions. At first, passengers will be able to take advantage of free rides. They will then have access to “new initiatives.”
While Uber was the first company to launch a ride-hailing firm in Australia, Taxify came to Sydney in November. Taxify, which is backed by China’s Didi Chuxing, has since launched in Melbourne as well.
The news came as Uber’s new Chief Executive Officer, Dara Khosrowshahi, dismissed rumors during a presentation in India about a potential merger with Ola, saying instead that he plans to invest more in the company’s India business, which has been suffering recently from losses.
According to news from BGR, citing an interview with ET Now, the executive said a merger with Ola is “fun to speculate,” but he otherwise brushed off the question. “My focus is on our quality of operations and our teams; that’s why I’m here. I’m here to meet with our teams, ministers, etc, to understand the market, and, at this point, I’m not really focused on M&A,” Khosrowshahi said.
The comments from Uber’s new CEO also came as reports recently surfaced that the ridesharing firm is selling its business in Southeast Asia to Singapore-based Grab. In return, Uber would obtain a substantial stake in the ride-hailing platform, sources close to the potential deal told CNBC.