Uber said it will focus on emerging markets in the next 10 years, although it is unsure when it will be profitable as a company.
Reuters is reporting that despite the issues Uber has encountered in getting a foothold in China and Southeast Asia, the ride-hailing and food delivery company sees those markets as defining its future growth.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said he realizes India is a tough market with a lot of competition, but that its “profitability characteristics” are getting better.
“If I look at Uber’s growth over the next 10 years, it’s going to be defined by markets like India, Africa and the Middle East more so than the developed markets such as the U.S. and Europe,” Khosrowshahi said.
Uber’s biggest market is the United States, but even there it has to compete with Lyft, which is also a sizeable company. When reporting its Q2 results in August, Uber showed another loss. It has yet to be profitable, despite years of funding as a private company.
Uber recently went public, but its shares have been underperforming since day one. The company said it plans to boost its investments in India after a sale of its Southeast Asia business to Grab in Singapore. In March, Uber said it was going to buy Careem, a rival in the Middle East.
Uber currently has a presence in about 40 cities in India, and the market makes up roughly 11 percent of its total global rides. The company’s food business, Uber Eats, is struggling more because of intense competition in the region from companies like Swiggy and Zomato.
Khosrowshahi was asked by reporters whether he thought ridesharing companies would affect car sales in the future, and whether they could be blamed for a recent slump of sales in the country. He answered in idealistic terms: “For the newer generation, the dream isn’t to own a car, the dream is to have freedom. To essentially have any kind of service on demand,” he said. “Sometimes car ownership is a trap to prevent innovation … India does not need to be trapped by these establishments.”