India now accounts for 11 percent of all the company’s trips across the globe, Parameswaran wrote in the internal email, but he only provided a gross bookings number for the country and didn’t include revenue. Gross bookings reflects how much Uber makes before paying drivers, a percentage that varies across markets.
On a global basis revenue amounted to 23 percent of gross bookings in the third quarter, Uber said last month. The company reported 38 percent revenue growth in the quarter to $2.95 billion on $12.7 billion in gross bookings.
Parameswaran said that the India business added 1.5 million new users through Uber Lite, a minimal version of the app that saves space and bandwidth for customers in emerging markets. He also said that Uber Eats grew sevenfold over the past four months, capturing almost 20 percent of the India market in just 18 months, he said.
While Uber is expressing its commitment to India, the company has backed out of other markets after similar commentary. In November 2017, Khosrowshahi said “we’re going in and we’re leading forward,” when asked about Southeast Asia. A few months later, Uber announced its retreat.
At the same time, there are growing concerns about Ola, India’s local ride-sharing giant, which has seen a number of high-level executive departures.
According to a report India’s Economic Times, Japanese conglomerate SoftBank has offered to invest as much as $1 billion in a new financing round for Ola. SoftBank is a big Uber backer and an Ola investor, participating in a 2014 round that valued the company at $1 billion according to Pitchbook. Its most recent round, raised in September of this year, valued Ola at $4.3 billion.
At this point, Softbank does not expect to put additional money into Ola, according to two people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because its funding plans are confidential.