New Delhi: Uber Technology Inc. plans to strengthen its technology team in Hyderabad and Bengaluru as it looks to drive growth in India amid a market share battle with local rival Ola.

“The idea is to hire as quickly as we can (the tech professionals in Hyderabad and Bengaluru)," Pradeep Parameswaran, president for India and South Asia at Uber told reporters at a press conference. Uber did not say how many people it wants to hire.

“India is going to have the largest tech presence outside of the US for us," Parameswaran added.

A large part of hiring for Uber in India will be driven by its two technology centres in the country—in Hyderabad and Bengaluru.

“There is a lot of pressure on these centres to hire," he added.

Liane Hornsey, the company’s former global human resources head, was in India to hire senior engineers and product experts as Uber expands the two centres, Mint reported in February.

India has emerged as an important market for Uber, after ceding ground in Southeast Asia, where it has sold its ride-hailing and food business for a 27.5% stake in the Singapore-based ride hailing company Grab, according to AFP. In addition, Ola (ANI Technologies Ltd), which is present in over 100 cities, has been continuously raising funds from new and existing investors to battle Uber.

Uber, which currently operates in 31 cities in India and three in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, will increase its footprint across these markets, Parameswaran said.

He did not give a timeline for Uber’s expansion in various cities. Ola, on the other hand, is expanding outside India in markets such as Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

San Francisco-based Uber is focusing on localization in Indian markets with matters such as culture and diversity figuring among the top five priorities that chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi has set for the ride-hailing giant. The operations team at Uber in India has grown from 15 to about 75 employees over a period of time.

“We think of ourselves providing any sort of transportation service for our platform and we are indulging in active conversations including waterways," Parameswaran added.

Uber recently announced plans to launch aerial taxi services called Uber Elevate in India, starting with Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru by 2023.

The company has been working to promote the use of electric vehicles and will continue the push, Parameswaran said.

It is also in talks with the government for partnerships to work on a multi-modal transportation model.

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