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更新时间:2017-10-12 18:47:41 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Ola, India’s Ride-Hailing Leader, Raises $1.1 Billion to Fight Uber

MUMBAI, India — India’s leading ride-hailing service, Ola, said on Wednesday that it had raised $1.1 billion in new funding, giving it a bulging war chest to battle Uber in a country where only a tiny portion of the population owns cars.


The lead investor in the funding round was Tencent Holdings, the Chinese technology giant that owns WeChat, an all-purpose app that many Chinese use to send messages, buy products, transfer money, read news and hail cabs.


SoftBank, a Japanese technology investor that was already Ola’s largest shareholder, also put in money. The additional funding puts SoftBank in an awkward position, since it is also in the final stages of making a large investment in Uber. Ola recently changed its bylaws to limit SoftBank’s control over its operations.


In announcing the new investment, Ola said it was in advanced talks to land an additional $1 billion. Much of that is expected to come from investment firms based in the United States. American interest in India has been on the rise after a hemorrhage of cash at some high-profile consumer internet start-ups, including Ola, had cooled enthusiasm.


Tencent and Alibaba, another Chinese internet giant, have also been aggressively investing in Indian tech start-ups. Investors in the United States and China view the emerging middle class in India as an important market, and they want to back companies that can win over those customers.


Ola, which is based in Bangalore, in southern India, said it planned to use the new funds to invest in artificial intelligence and machine learning to tackle projects such as predicting where and when a regular customer might need a car. The ride-hailing company is also spending heavily on a program to buy vehicles and lease them to drivers, and it is experimenting with electric cars in some cities.


Ola is losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year in India, according to its most recent financial filings. Uber is doing little better.


Uber’s prices in India are generally lower than Ola’s, an advantage in this price-sensitive country. Uber also benefits from the resources of a global company, including advanced mapping technology and an app that works in any of the dozens of countries in which it operates. Ola is in more Indian cities than Uber is, but it is unavailable outside India.


Ola has been trying to break its cycle of operating losses by curbing discounts and driver incentives, while rolling out innovations to attract users.


The company offers free Wi-Fi in many of its vehicles, and about a year ago, it introduced a premium subscription service for about $8 a month that gives frequent riders special benefits such as priority booking and an escape from surge pricing during times of peak demand.


Ola also offers a range of vehicle options, from the three-wheeled auto-rickshaws that are extremely popular in India to the luxury sedans aimed at business executives and foreign visitors. And the company has branched out into online payments with its Ola Money service.

Ola还提供一系列车辆选择,从在印度极其流行的机动三轮车到针对企业高管和外国游客的豪华轿车。该公司还进军在线支付领域,推出了Ola Money服务。

Uber, which is based in San Francisco, has been distracted recently by management turmoil, boardroom infighting and clashes with government regulators. But the company’s new chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, has signaled that he intends to compete vigorously in emerging markets like India and Indonesia.

总部设在旧金山的优步最近受到了管理混乱、董事会内讧和与政府监管机构发生冲突的干扰。但该公司的新任首席执行官达拉·霍斯劳沙希(Dara Khosrowshahi)已表示,他打算大力争夺印度和印度尼西亚等新兴市场。