Uber Is Dropping $1 Billion in India to Jump Start Local Expansion

The company’s growth in India is shooting up 40 percent a month, but can it stay that way while guaranteeing passenger safety?

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Jul 31 2015, 7:17pm

Photo: TeshTesh/Wikimedia Commons

Uber is inking in a couple more lines onto its roadmap for global domination. The ridesharing company is dropping $1 billion in India to expand to new cities and release new products there. This news comes with a number of good tidings for the company in India—the city of Delhi recently lifted its half-year ban on the service and the company recently reached a valuation of $51 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. This investment could also go toward smoothing out the somewhat rocky relationship the company has with the second most populous country in the world.

Uber is still marred by a high profile sexual assault case, which barred the company from operating in Delhi up until this past July when the ban lifted. A passenger of an Uber vehicle was allegedly raped by a driver, and the company responded some months later by adding an SOS button to the app that sends GPS coordinates and driver info to the local authorities when pressed.

The company also started an initiative that plans to add 1 million women to its workforce by 2020, of which 50,000 will be in India. While that's one broad stroke to a problem, it's probably more easily fixed by allowing female riders to pair up with female drivers.

The Associated Press reports that Uber India will try to hit 1 million rides for its daily circulation and is already publishing glowing growth rates.

"We are continuing to see a robust 40 percent growth month-on-month," said Amit Jain, head of Uber India, in a statement.

And if the company can address the safety of female passengers, it may likely keep that growth.