The battle for India’s ride-hailing market between the dominant homegrown Ola and global rival Uber Technologies Inc heated up with Ola saying the upshot of the debate is about minding local laws.
Ola has used a blog post to state its view that their fight isn’t about where companies are based, but adhering to the rules. Its the latest salvo in a dispute that has spanned India’s streets to the nation’s courtrooms.
“The debate in our view is not about foreign versus local but about who is respectful of the local laws and who is disrespectful,” Pranay Jivrajka, Ola’s chief operating officer, said in a blog post titled “The Law is the Law.” “Ola has always taken an approach of working in partnership with the government.”
Ola and its chief executive officer Bhavish Aggarwal are engaged in stiff competition with billionaire Travis Kalanick’s Uber, which has been investing hundreds of millions of dollars in India to expand its share. India is a key geography for both, by virtue of being the only focus for Ola and being vital for San Francisco-based Uber’s plans to gain global dominance in ride-hailing.
The week began with Ola filing a statement in court saying there was an attempt to bypass the law “by foreign companies who run their operations in this country for profit without due regard for applicable laws.” Uber countered that with a blog post titled , “Let’s keep Bangalore moving” in which Bhavik Rathod, its general manager, South and West in India, asked what made Uber foreign, if all players had received most of the funding from foreign investors.
Uber didn’t immediately respond to e-mailed requests for comment on Ola’s statement.
In its latest response, Jivrajka said the onus is on the business that brings in transformative technology to work with the government and evolve the ecosystem in partnership mode.