Uber Ready to Launch in Lahore, Pakistan

Uber, the rapidly growing San Francisco based behemoth known for its taxi app,  appears to be getting ready to launch its service in Lahore, Pakistan, according to media reports.

A report in Tech In Asia points to the career page on Uber website that shows openings for “general manager”, “operations and logistics manager”, and a “marketing manager,” for Lahore,  Pakistan's second-largest city.

In fact, Uber has confirmed its plans to launch in Pakistan soon, according to TechJuice.

“We can confirm we are currently recruiting for a team in Lahore, and are very excited about launching in Pakistan as we see huge potential in the way we can help people move around their city safely and reliably,” Shaden Abdellatif, communications manager for Uber’s Middle East and Africa operations told TechJuice. “We are also excited about the opportunity for economic empowerment we can bring to the drivers we partner with.”



It makes sense given the size of the Pakistan's expanding urban middle class with its fast growing mobile broadband subscriptions combined with rising smartphone sales in the country.

Pakistanis are signing up for 3G and 4G services at a rate of 1 to 2 million new subscriptions a month. In September 2015 alone, Pakistan Telecom Authority reported 2.22 million new 3G and 4G subscriptions in the country. There's corresponding increase in demand for smartphones.



With over 18 million smartphones and mobile broadband subscriptions, Pakistan is ripe for a whole range of new businesses from e-commerce to gaming to various online services like Uber that are accessed through smartphone apps.

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Comments

Riaz Haq said…
New #California Law lets state workers use #SanFrancisco based #Uber and #Airbnb for business travel http://fw.to/gWbsu2D

Ride-sharing services like Uber and short-term home rentals like Airbnb may get a boost in business now that the state of California has made it clear that its employees can turn to such businesses when traveling for work.

Legislation written by Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown this month ensures that the state’s 228,000 employees will be reimbursed for the cost of using the sharing-economy businesses for business travel. The legislation takes effect in January.

State law has so far been silent on whether state employees would be reimbursed for using such services, Chang said.

The lawmaker said she hopes the new law will save the state on travel costs. Over the last three years, the state reimbursed employees nearly $110 million in travel costs.

Representatives for Chang said the amount of the savings will depend on how much workers rely on Uber, Airbnb and other sharing-economy services. But they noted that some short-term home rental businesses can cut the cost of lodging by up to half compared to hotels.
Riaz Haq said…
Online taxi giant #Uber aims to launch in #Pakistan by end of 2015 http://reut.rs/1O7IVPR via @Reuters

Online taxi-hailing service Uber will launch in Pakistan by the end of the year, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday, part of an aggressive push targeting megacities in the Asia Pacific region.

Undeterred by the failure of other online taxi-hailing ventures in Pakistan, Uber's career page advertised three top manager positions in the eastern city of Lahore this week.

The company hopes Pakistan's launch of 3G and 4G telecommunication services last year will galvanism business.

Fourteen percent of Pakistan's population of 190 million has access to the Internet and 73 percent to mobile phones, the country's telecommunications authority says.

“We want to launch by the end of the year or at the latest by early next year,” Shaden Abdellatif, Uber’s head of communications for the Middle East and Africa, told Reuters.

“We will put together a team in Lahore within the next couple of months,” she said, referring to Pakistan’s second largest city where the service will first be launched.

Uber Technologies Inc, currently valued at over $50 billion, uses a free GPS-enabled app to link drivers from private car companies to passengers at cheaper rates and promises a quicker response time - often within 10 minutes.

The company, founded in 2009, has expanded more quickly globally than any company in history and is operating in 300 cities in over 60 countries.

GLOBAL BRAND, LOCAL ADJUSTMENTS

The Pakistan launch of Uber comes after other taxi-hailing ventures, such as German ecommerce investor Rocket Internet’s Easy Taxi app, have failed to penetrate the market. But Uber hopes its brand will attract business.

“What we are bringing to Pakistan is our brand and more than that, the experience of our brand around the world,” Abdellatif said.

Uber usually uses credit cards or other electronic payment methods to charge customers but the company plans to develop new products and payment solutions for Pakistan, where credit cards are much rarer than Internet connections.

The safety of both passengers and drivers will also be a major challenge in a country with high crime rates and an intractable Taliban insurgency.

In neighboring India, the government temporarily banned Uber after an Uber driver was accused of rape.

The company says all Pakistan drivers will go through a rigorous screening process and background checks, while the app itself will send riders the driver's name, photo and car license plate and allow them to share their route with family or friends.

“In some markets, we've worked with local authorities to integrate additional safety measures,” Abdellatif said.

“We'll explore all options in Pakistan to ensure riders and drivers have the smoothest and safest Uber experience possible.”
Riaz Haq said…
UAE Sheikh Al-Nahyan invests $5.4 million in #Pakistan-based Mobile Payments start-up Inov8 http://tribune.com.pk/story/981926/dubai-sheikh-invests-5-4-million-in-pakistan-based-start-up/ …

A Sheikh from the UAE has invested $5.4 million in Pakistan’s fastest-growing mobile payments company, Inov8 Limited.

His Highness Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, is the sole investor in the company’s Series A round, investing $5.4 million in the company which has achieved a valuation in excess of $100 million.

“I have invested in multiple mobile payments and commerce initiatives, and I find the depth of the management, the product platform, and the vision of the founders to be the best I have come across. I look forward to being an integral part of their success story,” Al Nahayan said.

Inov8 Limited is the region’s fastest growing mobile payments company and a dominant player in Pakistan’s market. With its award winning products and services, the company is set to expand to Africa and the Middle East.

“Sheikh Al Nahayan is an avid investor in the industry and understands it quite well,” CEO and co-Founder of the company, Hasnain A Sheikh said while speaking to The Express Tribune, adding that “we are in a strong partnership with Wateen Telecom (owned by Al Nahayan) which is how the investment came about.”

“This round of funding is testament to the massive upsurge in the demand for Inov8 products and services across the region, which has been phenomenal over the last 18 months,” he said.

Meanwhile, co-founder and president, Bashir Sheikh said,”We will be utilising our funds for our growth across the Middle East and Africa region with an expectation to raise a much larger Series B round in the near future. We will be looking to grow organically and via acquisition, for businesses, products and teams.”

ommenting on the future goals of the company, Hasnain said there is one simple goal, adding that “the company aims to become the number one mobile payments company in the world by 2020.”

“Inov8 has been working to grow the mobile payments industry in Pakistan since 2004. Today we have one of the largest offerings of products and services as well as one of the biggest client portfolios in the region,” he said earlier.

With Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak being the sole investor in the company, Inov8′s headquarters have moved to the UAE, while maintaining some of its presence in the UK.

The region’s leading mobile commerce and payments provider has partnered with a leading aggregator operating in North America and the region, Monami, to offer internet payments in Pakistan. The funding received, along with the post money valuation should pave way for further investment in the country’s burgeoning technology industry.

This is the first time that leading names including Google Play Store, Apple, AppStore, iTunes and Skype, among 50 others, are being made available locally to Pakistani consumers; under this large portfolio of investments.
Riaz Haq said…
#Netflix launched in 129 countries, including #Pakistan #CES2016 #ReedHastings http://www.theasian.asia/archives/93449

Netflix, the world’s leading video-streaming network, announced the launch of its services in Pakistan and 129 other countries on Wednesday.

The Netflix website offers users the services starting at $7.99 a month, with a free month offer.

“Today you are witnessing the birth of a new global Internet TV network,” said Co-founder and Chief Executive Reed Hastings during a Consumer Electronics Show keynote in Las Vegas.

“With this launch, consumers around the world – from Singapore to St. Petersburg, from San Francisco to Sao Paulo – will be able to enjoy TV shows and movies simultaneously — no more waiting. With the help of the Internet, we are putting power in consumers’ hands to watch whenever, wherever and on whatever device.”

Shares of the company rose as much as 8.5 percent to $116.85, their highest one-day gain in more than four months.

However, all shows will not be available immediately to some Netflix fans.

“We’re moving as quickly as we can to have global availability of all the content on Netflix,” Hastings said at a press conference after the keynote address.

India, Nigeria, Russia and Saudi Arabia were among the major countries where the service was launched while the US government restrictions mean it will not be available in Crime, North Korean and Syria.

Netflix, whose services were available in more than 60 countries before Wednesday’s launch, had previously said it aimed to reach 200 countries by the end of 2016.
Riaz Haq said…
Uber Technologies Inc. launched its ride-hailing app in Pakistan on Thursday, as part of the company’s $250 million investment push that also includes expanding into the Middle East and North Africa.

The San Francisco-based company will initially offer its service in the eastern city of Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city with an estimated population of 10 million. The South Asian nation is the 69th market for Uber, which was valued at over $60 billion after a funding round in December.

Uber said the process to get approval from Pakistani authorities was smooth. “We have been welcomed with open arms by the government of Punjab and the regulators in Lahore, who see the need for Uber,” said Shaden Abdellatif, a spokeswoman for the company.

The ride-hailing app’s reception in Lahore, capital of the country’s Punjab province, is in contrast with Uber’s experience in neighboring India, where it has faced regulatory hurdles including a ban on its services in the capital Delhi.

Some companies offer on-call cab services in Lahore, but their impact has been limited. Uber will have competitors like Dubai-based Careem, which also offers services through a smartphone app.

Considering the security situation in Pakistan, Uber said it has built-in extra layers of screening into the driver selection process. In addition to personnel and car identification documents, potential drivers must provide a police verification certificate and a character certificate from a referrer. The company said it wants to provide women a safe and comfortable experience: drivers will have to attend a mandatory seminar on sexual harassment.

Last year, a court in Delhi sentenced a driver to life imprisonment for the rape of a woman in a car hired through the Uber app. The company said it had strengthened background checks and safety measures for customers after the attack.

Low Internet penetration and limited credit card use present challenges in Pakistan. Out of 128 million cellphone users, however, the number of users with 3G or high-speed 4G mobile Internet nearly doubled from June 2015 to January 2016, from 13.5 million to 24.7 million, according to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

Uber will allow users to pay cash as well as the usual electronic payments through the app.

“In Pakistan, we knew right away that in order to reach as many people [as possible] … cash was pretty much the way to go,” said Ms. Abdellatif.

Uber’s service in Lahore will have a base rate of 100 rupees, just under $1. It will charge 13.7 rupees (13 cents) a kilometer (0.62 miles) and 3.7 rupees (3 cents) a minute. Uber said its prices are low and comparable with the cost of a trip in a three-wheeler rickshaw, a common mode of transport in Lahore.

The company said it will consider expansion to other cities in Pakistan depending on its experience in Lahore.

http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2016/03/03/uber-launches-in-pakistan/
Riaz Haq said…
‪#‎Uber‬’s charges in ‪#‎Lahore‬: Base rate of Rs. 100 ( under $1), then Rs. 13.7 (13 cents) a km (0.62 miles) and Rs. 3.7 (3 cents) a minute @WSJ


http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2016/03/03/uber-launches-in-pakistan/
Riaz Haq said…
#Google launches turn-by-turn voice navigation for #Android #smartphones in #Pakistan http://tribune.com.pk/story/1065925/google-launches-turn-by-turn-navigation-for-pakistan/ …

Google has finally launched its turn-by-turn navigation system for Pakistan allowing users to get directions for a selected route in the form of vocal and visual instructions.

The feature is currently only accessible for beta users and can be accessed on any Android phone.

Based on real-time location, the navigation system will now enable users to get automatic guidance and turn-by-turn details through voice commands.

Take a look at the world’s secret sites on Google Earth

The previous system available on Google Store had only the basic features with an automated voice guidance missing. With a vast improvement to the new app, the phone screen will remain lit after navigation is launched and voice guidance will also alert users about upcoming turns and traffic.

Should the user make a wrong turn, the navigation system will automatically alert the driver. Although this feature is already in place in many countries, it is new for Pakistan.

Google Maps guides travellers offline

Users can download the latest software from Google Store which will be activated with any internet connection or WiFi.

Motorists believe this new feature could be extremely useful and could guide users about real time changes in routes and traffic — a major breakthrough for the country.
Riaz Haq said…
Share of #smartphones in devices imports in #Pakistan jumps to 30% in 2016 from 7% in 2012. #3G #4G

http://www.brecorder.com/pakistan/business-a-economy/292097-share-of-smartphones-in-devices-import-touches-30pc-mark.html

Smartphones have registered around 30 percent share in overall cellular mobile devices imported in the country during last year which was only 7 percent in 2012.

In next two years, smartphones are expected to cross 55% of mobile phone imports in Pakistan as their adoption is expected to grow further due to expanding 3G and 4G networks.

A report issued by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) revealed that smartphone has become a major source for innovation and new age of enhanced mobile phone use in personal life.

With introduction of larger screen-sizes, consumers are finding smartphones a convenient way to complete many activities what they used to do manually or through desktops.

Therefore, larger screen phones are an accelerator for increasing adoption o smartphone.

Companies are developing their mobile websites, which will further enhance consumer experience on smartphones.

Greater functionality, rich features and enhanced interfaces make the consumer experience on smartphones much more attractive than the features available on a desktop.

The report said share of internet activities through smartphones will grow in near future.Smartphones are more convenient to use and the younger generation has quickly adapted to use of smartphones.

The fall in smartphone prices and mobile data cost has also increased the adoption of smartphones in developing countries.

According to GSMA Intelligence data forecast, global smartphone adoption is expected to increase massively in coming years particularly in developing markets.Smartphone penetration in Asia- Pacific region has reached around 40 % in 2014, and forecast is that this will rise to 65 % by 2020.

Similarly, worldwide smartphone penetration was 50%, which is expected to increase to over 73% by 2020.

Availability of next generation mobile services after the auction of 3G and 4G spectrum in Pakistan in April 2014 has rapidly increased the adoption of smartphone in the society.During 2015, 123 percent increase in smartphone shipment to Pakistan.

Cellular mobile operators have also collaborated with smartphone manufacturers to promote smartphone usage in Pakistan.Companies have also started developing mobile apps and mobile websites keeping in view the fast adoption of smartphones in the country, which will increase the smartphone usage in future.
Riaz Haq said…
#Uber #Pakistan’s top driver made Rs 130,000 in a month in #Lahore. Average driver earning Rs 100K pm http://www.businessinsider.in/Uber-Pakistans-top-driver-made-Rs-130000-in-just-30-days/articleshow/52110066.cms … via @bi_india

Last month, Uber, one of the most popular taxi-hailing apps officially launched its services in Pakistan at Rs 13.7 per km. While the base-fare remained at Rs 100, the company has kept the per-minute charges at Rs 3.7.

As of the moment, the Uber services can be availed all over Lahore and the company intends to make them available in Karachi and Islamabad over the next few months.

While, Pakistanis in general have taken to Uber in a big way already, however they're not the only one reaping benefits of the company's expansion in the country.

Word is, Uber Pakistan's drivers are bringing home massive earnings.

According to figures that were made public last week, these drivers have earned an average monthly income of Rs 100,000 in this short period.

Additionally, Umair Saif, the renowned Pakistani entrepreneur and scientist cliamed that the top Uber Pakistan driver took home a whopping Rs 130,000.

All this in just a month.

He also tweeted a map of all the trips that Uber made in its first month in Lahore.

An Uber spokesperson confirmed the fact, saying "There is a driver who successfully maxed out our income charts by making around Rs 130,000 in only 30 days, which is impressive."

One reason of their high earnings could be the fact that at the moment Uber has a relatively less number of cabs plying in the city- and as has been noticed, the demand for an Uber is unbearably high. This trend could well wear drown once Uber increases its fleet in Lahore.

Presently, Uber has started out with 100 drivers/cabs in Lahore and is offering its UberGo vehicles in Pakistan which include Suzuki Swifts, Toyota Vitz, Toyota Corollas and Honda Civic among others. There is also the economical Uber Pool that allows two or more people to share a ride and split the fare.

The company aims to offer luxurious cars under UberBlack and UberLUX later.
Riaz Haq said…
#Uber taxi hailing service rides into #Karachi, #Pakistan this week after successful launch in #Lahore http://bloom.bg/2bea0jd via @markets

Uber Technologies Inc. is set to start its ride-hailing service in Karachi this week as the security situation in Pakistan’s largest city improves.
The San Francisco-based company will offer both cash and electronic methods of payment and will operate in areas with very few incidents of violence such as Clifton, Saddar Town and Korangi, according to Zohair Yousafi, who’s spearheading Uber’s expansion in Pakistan. The company started in Pakistan’s Lahore city earlier this year.
“Pakistan has been really incredible,” Yousafi said in an interview on Tuesday. “Lahore has been one of the fastest growing launch cities in the region’s history. The potential Karachi brings just because of its massive population is huge.”
The on-demand ride service joins Dubai-based Careem in tapping demand in a city that has a population equivalent to that of Australia, and is recovering from decades of sectarian violence, bombings and kidnappings. Bomb attacks dropped 80 percent last year after peaking in 2013, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal.
“Three to four years ago they wouldn’t have even thought of Karachi but things are better now,” Saad bin Ahmed, chief executive officer of Karachi-based Alternate Research, said by phone. “Pakistan has an ever-growing urban population with rising income level. It’s about global presence for Uber.”
Karachi is the world’s seventh-most populous city, according to Demographia World Urban Areas. Uber attracted 65,000 riders and about 1,000 active drivers in Lahore in the second half of July, according to data provided by Uber.



Riaz Haq said…
#Uber to start #Rickshaw service in #Pakistan http://bit.ly/2eAouzu via @techjuicepk

https://www.techjuice.pk/uber-to-start-rickshaw-service-in-pakistan/


Uber, the globally acclaimed cab e-hailing service, will be initiating a Rickshaw hailing service as well for Pakistani populace, in an effort to expand its consumer reach.

Starting from Lahore, the Rickshaw hailing Uber service will be expanded to major cities across Pakistan, a country where it hasn’t yet been able to establish its foothold completely, provided the fact that it has yet to expand its operations to the Federal Capital Islamabad.

Since services of cab hiring and sharing were made available at the tap of a finger, people have been preferring these novel means over the traditional procedures a lot. Last year, the MENAP based startup Careem expanded its services to Pakistan. This year Uber jumped in and introduced its e-hailing services, starting Lahore. Recently, Uber expanded its services to Karachi and is leveling its wings to expand to Islamabad.

Uber also experimented with a similar service in India last year but it was discontinued almost 9 months into the launch.

Owing to the great response, Uber is planning to take on Rickshaws which is a comparatively cheaper mean still prevalent in Pakistan. Uber also runs such auto services in India and Egypt. One thing is for sure, that this venture could lead to a much larger consumer reach. The rates would be nominal and the handy service is pretty much expected to get great response.
Riaz Haq said…
#Uber in #Pakistan: Can sharing economy work? high cost of car ownership & low labor cost?#India http://theconversation.com/uber-in-pakistan-a-lesson-in-the-flaws-of-the-sharing-economy-67359 … via @ConversationUK

The arrival of ride-sharing app Uber can reveal much about a country’s pressure points and preoccupations. Since launching in Pakistan earlier this year, the high costs of car ownership and low cost of wages have thrown up unexpected problems for the company, offering captivating insights into the prevailing political economy and the role of capital owners in a sharing economy. It is not solo drivers, but those with wealth to hand who have seen Uber as an investment opportunity, and in doing so they have created a distorted incentive system which damages service quality.

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In order to offer drivers some protection against a lack of rides, Uber would pay 270 Pakistani rupees an hour, about £2.10, as compensation. Car rental companies and dealerships were quick to respond. They identified blind spots on Uber’s map and placed all their available cars there so they could earn money while parked up. Others, enticed by good demand, rented cars and hired drivers to pick up passengers. Fleet ownership is endorsed by Uber but fleet driver compensation appears to be left to the discretion of the car’s owner.

This represented a shift from the standard model of the service that customers are used to in the west, where the owner of the car and the driver are the same person. This is so in markets with relatively high rates of car ownership where financing is easily available from banks or from Uber itself. In other markets fleet owners tend to charge drivers a monthly rental but let them retain, at least most of, their earnings. In Pakistan, a large number of the drivers were employees of the owner, and not owners themselves, working for fixed salaries rather than a percentage of earnings. This appeared to be the cause of a distorted incentive system.

Because the drivers were on a fixed salary, they earned the same regardless of whether they provided a service or not. Many drivers frequently cancelled rides and harassed customers; often making them cancel rides. This same trend has been the case in India as well. At least in the immediate term, their own monthly compensation would remain unaffected.

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The third trend is growing concentration of ownership in the sharing economy. Airbnb data for New York indicates the much of the company’s revenue comes from people with multiple listings. This weakens the notion that there is a culture of “sharing” rather than one of rentierism which drives such business. At the core of this is the price of property, which limits ownership. Uber seems to be following the same trend in Pakistan where diminutive purchasing power makes car ownership an elusive dream for most.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan #PTCL and #Netflix to collborate to improve streaming service with local caching servers http://bit.ly/2fbYE0W via @techjuicepk

PTCL becomes the first Telecommunication operator in Pakistan to sign a partnership agreement with Netflix, the global internet television network for the Pakistan market. After this agreement, PTCL and Netflix will use their respective resources for mutual benefit, utilizing and maximizing the viewing experience and penetration of Netflix services in Pakistan. This agreement will serve as a way forward for both PTCL and Netflix to provide digital content fans in Pakistan with Netflix streaming. PTCL will support and promote original Netflix content in Pakistan.

PTCL became the only service provider in Pakistan with advanced caching servers and technical pairing with Netflix to offer the superior viewing experience since Netflix’s global launch in January 2016.

Commenting on the agreement, PTCL’s Chief Commercial Officer, Adnan Shahid said, “Digital entertainment is PTCL’s key priority and our partnership with Netflix is another step in this direction. We look forward to working with Netflix to offer new and exciting services including world class Netflix original series and movies in Pakistan.”

Tony Zameczkowski, Vice President, Business Development for Asia at Netflix said, “We are excited to partner with PTCL in Pakistan and are looking forward to providing high-quality entertainment content for the Pakistani consumers.”

Netflix is the world’s leading Internet television network with over 86 million members in over 190 countries enjoying more than 125 million hours of TV shows and movies per day, including original series, documentaries and feature films. Netflix members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen and they can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

PTCL is the largest information communication technology and entertainment service provider in Pakistan, touching millions of lives through its broadband and digital television services. Always striving to achieve customer satisfaction, PTCL has entered the collaboration with Netflix to provide its customers high-quality streaming content.

Riaz Haq said…

#Dubai-based #Careem leaves #Uber in the dust in #Pakistan

http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/dubai-based-careem-leaves-uber-in-the-dust-in-pakistan-116110700619_1.html

Uber says Pakistan is one of its fastest growing global markets and Careem asserts that its local operations have grown at an average rate of 50 per cent month-on-month.

Word on the street is that Careem is comfortably beating Uber, both in terms of active riders as well as cars plying the roads. The view is consistent with data from SimilarWeb, which says Careem is the larger company in Pakistan based on app installs.

Uber is priced anywhere between 25 to 30 per cent cheaper than Careem. If the Middle Eastern challenger is indeed ahead, it shows that Pakistan’s commuters want a premium experience and aren’t hesitant about paying slightly more for it.

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