Millennium Post

Uber bets on 7 local languages to drive growth in India

New Delhi: US-based cab aggregator Uber on Tuesday said it plans to make its platform available in seven Indian languages, including Hindi, Gujarati and Tamil, to commuters in India as it looks to further strengthen its position in the market with localised offerings.

The company, which is locked in an intense battle with homegrown player Ola, has launched a 'Lite' version of its app that is designed to work well in low connectivity situations as well as on phones with low storage space.

The made-in-India app has been launched as a pilot in Delhi, Jaipur, and Hyderabad.

"Uber Lite will be rolled out to other parts of the country in the coming months. We will also look at taking this to international markets," Uber Head of Rider Product Peter Deng said.

Speaking to PTI, Deng said Uber is looking at making Uber Lite available in Indian languages as well.

"We are looking at top seven Indic languages. This is one of our top priorities here. We have been speaking to our users and using those inputs, we want to make sure that the ride booking experience is as smooth and seamless as possible," he explained. The Indic languages that Uber is looking at are Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali and Gujarati. Deng said Uber, which has a team of over 150 engineers in India in Bengaluru and Hyderabad, is focussed on innovations for the Indian market and then taking these solutions to other markets as well and cited the example of 'Call to ride' service. The offering was started as a pilot in Pune last year and has, since then, been expanded to four more cities in India and in parts of Europe. It allows users to book a ride by dialling a phone number instead of using the mobile app.

Talking about the 'Lite' app, Uber Vice President and Head of Product Manik Gupta said the 'Lite' app -- which is under 5MB in size -- retains the core functionalities of the main app like emergency button and the ability to share trip details.

He stated that the app has been designed keeping in mind users who face network connectivity issues, or use devices with older versions of Android mobile operating system.

More than 70 per cent of Uber's users in India are estimated to be using either entry-level or phones with older versions of Android OS.

Interestingly, Ola had also launched a 'Lite' version of its app in December 2017. The light-weight app was said to consume less than 1MB space.

India is a key market for Uber, which is already among the top three markets (besides the US and Latin America) for the US-based company. The firm has been pumping in substantial funds to fuel its growth in India.

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