Since 2011, Russia’s main search engine company, Yandex, has been running an taxi-app that most now simply know as Russia’s Uber.
And new numbers show that while the actual, American Uber continues to have its way in many markets, it may have finally met its match on the Volga.
Bloomberg’s Ilya Khrennikov writes there are now more than 15,000 taxis signed up for the platform, and in Yandex’s case, they are actual taxis, instead of random drivers with smart phones. That compares with just 3,000 Russian Uber drivers; the company entered Russia in late 2013.
Yandex’s taxi head told Khrennikov the company plans to expand to 25 Russian cities by the end of the year, and ZAO Raiffeisenbank, a Russian financial group, estimates the service could bring in 10 billion rubles (more than $154 million) in sales this year, Khrenniov says. No one is still quite sure how much revenue Uber brings in now, but documents obtained by Gawker shows the company was pulling in $57 million in one quarter a year ago, so $154 million is a pretty decent figure. Moscow’s taxi market alone is estimated to be worth $1 billion.
“Online services have made competition in the taxi market more transparent, leading to lower prices and sharp growth in the number of rides per person,” Yandex’s Tigran Khudaverdyan told Bloomberg. “For a third consecutive quarter, our taxi revenue is growing faster than we could’ve expected.”
Uber also trails Gett, known as the Uber of Israel, which operates 10,000 cars in Moscow.
While Uber has mostly conquered in America (though Lyft is still very much alive), it continues to face competition and political pressure in other parts of the world that have served as headwinds to its international growth.
In China, a company called Didi Kuaidi claims to have already enrolled 1.5 million taxi drivers out of the two million in all of China. Didi and Kuaidi used to be separate companies but merged to better fend off Uber, which recently said it plans to invest $1 billion to build up operations in China. It only just started a form of Uber’s civilian driver signup program—according to Bloomberg, they registered 2.6 million car owners in June.
Meanwhile, although Uber projects its Indian business will soon surpass U.S. fares. The company was, as of June, still locked out of New Delhi, the country’s capital, as the city continues to grapple with a horrific rape incident involving an Uber driver.
Things may be turning in Uber’s favor in Europe, at least in some countries, Politico’s Zoya Sheftalovich reported this weekend. The European Commission will soon decide whether Spain and France, where anti-Uber actions turned violent this summer, violated European Union protocols in placing restrictions on the company.
However, the company remains banned in Belgium, the Netherlands, and continues to face restrictions in Germany.
Uber alternatives now exist in almost all those countries, the most successful being Germany’s Blacklane, which operates in 185 cities and 300 airports.
Blacklane actually requires a call at least an hour in advance, and doesn’t consider itself an Uber rival. For what it’s worth, it’s still in Broward County, Fla., where Uber remains absent as it remains embroiled in a standoff with county commissioners.
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