Indian ride sharing giant Ola has begun operating in Sydney, just weeks after launching in Perth.
The $9 billion business, which claims to have more than one million driver-partner in India, and now Australia, is backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent, as well as Japanese multinational Softbank.
It now looms as a major threat to US pioneer Uber in the increasingly crowded app-based ride sharing market after Estonian-based Taxify launched in Sydney last December, as well as GoCatch.
Ola launched in Perth on Valentine’s Day and made an aggressive push into the Australia market with a generous incentive strategy for both users and drivers, undercutting Uber.
In Sydney, the company is offering three free rides, worth up to $25 each to people who download the app and sign up, as well as 50% discount on additional rides after the promotional period.
In the last three weeks, the number of drivers registered with Ola has nearly doubled to 7000.
Ola’s arrival comes at a time when ridesharing has been legalised across Australia, with state governments implementing a range of compensation schemes for the taxi industry involving a surcharge on all rides.
Ola is also planning to launch in Melbourne this month.