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Indian ride-hailing firm Ola to take on Uber in Britain

By AFP - Aug 07,2018 - Last updated at Aug 07,2018

An employee speaks over his phone as he sits at the front desk inside the office of Ola cab service in Gurugram, previously known as Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, on April 20, 2016 (Reuters file photo)

MUMBAI — Indian ride-hailing company Ola announced on Tuesday that it is to launch services in Britain, expanding its foray abroad and intensifying its battle with US rival Uber.

Britain will be Ola's second venture into a foreign market after it started operations in Australia in February.

Ola said in a statement that it had obtained licences to operate in South Wales and Greater Manchester. 

It said it would start the South Wales operations within the next month and was inviting private vehicle owners and taxi drivers to partner with it.

"Ola is excited to announce its plans for the UK, one of the world's most evolved transportation markets," co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal said in the press release.

Ola plans to expand its services across Britain, where Uber already has a presence, by the end of the year, the company added.

Ola was launched in 2011 and claims to handle around a billion rides a year across India's major centres and seven cities in Australia. 

Ride-hailing apps are booming in India despite stiff opposition from traditional taxi firms and some initial concerns about passenger safety.

Ola and Uber are locked in an aggressive fight for a greater share of India's taxi-app market, which is estimated to be worth around $10 billion.

Both companies are backed by Japan's SoftBank Group and recently ventured into the food delivery business, further intensifying their rivalry.

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