Uber investing $1 billion in India, targets 1 million daily rides

India is the largest market for Uber outside the US

Uber's logo

Uber's logo

Uber Technologies expects to hit over 1 million trips per day in the next six to nine months in India, the largest market outside the U.S. for the ride-hailing company.

The company said Friday it was making a new investment of US$1 billion in the country over the next nine months. The money will be spent on expanding and improving operations, including into more cities, developing new products and payment methods, and to establish a "great support network," Amit Jain, president of Uber India, said in a statement.

Uber, which is currently growing at a whopping 40 percent monthly, is expecting faster growth after the investment, Jain added.

In India, Uber is up against the country's largest player Ola, run by ANI Technologies, which acquired a smaller operator TaxiForSure in March for $200 million.

The growth for Uber has come with regulatory hurdles, much of it after the alleged rape of a woman passenger by a Uber driver in December in Delhi. Uber's service in the city was banned soon after, but a Delhi court lifted the ban recently, while the company applies for a license under newer stricter rules of the Delhi transport department.

The overall ride-hailing market in the country has come under close scrutiny. The Competition Commission of India, for example, launched earlier this year a probe against SoftBank-backed Ola for 'predatory pricing,' aimed at wiping out a lesser-funded rival.

Uber said it plans to support over 200,000 full-time job opportunities in the country on its app by 2016, with another target of 50,000 jobs for women by 2020. Over the last 20 months, it has expanded to 18 cities in the country, and introduced cash payments that are popular in the country, and uberAuto, a service that offers rides on India's ubiquitous three-wheeler autorickshaws.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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