Indian ride-hailing giant Ola shuts operations in UK, Australia

Ola drivers in Australia reportedly receive email about company’s abrupt closure

Vishwam Sankaran
Tuesday 09 April 2024 12:06 BST
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Indian ride-hailing company Ola has suspended its overseas operations, including in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, six years after expanding to international markets.

The company, founded in 2010 and operating in the international markets since 2018, said it will now be focusing on expanding operations within India.

“Our ride hailing business is growing rapidly, and we remain profitable and segment leaders in India. The future of mobility is electric – not just in personal mobility but also for the ride-hailing business and there is immense opportunity for expansion in India,” an Ola spokesperson said on Tuesday.

“With this clear focus, we’ve reassessed our priorities and have decided to shut down our overseas ride-hailing business in its current form in the UK, Australia and New Zealand,” the spokesperson said.

Ola is one of the most high-profile startups in India valued at over $7bn in 2021 and backed by investors including Temasek and Tiger Global.

The ride-hailing service first began its international operations in Australia in January 2018, and then in New Zealand in September 2018, followed by the UK in March 2019.

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Ola drivers in Australia reportedly received an email about the company’s abrupt closure, and a message forbidding them from taking passengers after 12 April.

“From 12 April 2024, you are not entitled to continue taking passenger bookings on Ola’s licence or permit or using Ola materials,” the email said, according to Financial Review.

“You must destroy any and all Ola materials, stickers and labels, and copies of Ola permits you may have in your possession or control and remove all Ola stickers or labels from your vehicle,” the company reportedly said in a message to drivers.

The move to shut overseas operations is likely tied to the company shifting attention in India towards launching an initial public offering (IPO) for its electric vehicle arm.

Ola said it aims to pour more investment into research and product development, and general corporate purposes.

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