Uber says it is not in fact exploring ways to bail from India

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Ride-hailing firm Uber has rejected a media report claiming that it has explored exiting the India market, saying it has never considered such a move.

Bloomberg reported this week that the San Francisco-headquartered company explored the move and reached out to “several interested parties” after recognizing it had limited potential for profitable expansion in India, which is a key overseas market for several global technology companies.

According to the report, Uber considered a stock swap with local companies or even a pullout, before a “global equity market rout upended plans.” It added that a stock deal was favored in exploratory talks, as that would have allowed the ride-hailing service company to retain a foothold in India.

An Uber spokesperson rejected the claims by saying that the reporting was “categorically false.”

“We have never explored exiting India — not even for a minute. India is as important to Uber today as it was when we launched nine years ago. We are serving riders and drivers across more than 100 cities, hiring Indian talent aggressively, and planning for the next decade and beyond,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

Uber began its services in India in 2013, and currently competes with SoftBank-backed Ola, which is now focusing on manufacturing and selling electric vehicles.

Both companies have been struggling continuously to make profits in the price-sensitive Indian market. Both companies have also faced various regulatory and operational challenges including driver attrition, which pressured their margins.

Uber, which is not profitable in India, recently sold its local unit to Digi Global in China but kept an equity stake. It struck a similar deal with Grab Holdings in Southeast Asia. The Bloomberg report claims the alleged India deal was being planned on similar lines.

Uber also recently sold the India unit of Uber Eats to food delivery firm Zomato in early 2020.

Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi told employees last month that the firm is focused on reaching profitability.

The company announced in May that it would add 500 tech workers this year to its Bangalore and Hyderabad engineering centers.

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