| NEW YORK/BENGALURU
NEW YORK/BENGALURU Nov 22 Indian ride-services
start-up Ola unveiled on Tuesday a new car entertainment
platform that allows passengers to listen to the music of their
choice, as it seeks to woo riders with gizmos in a bid to
outmanoeuvre global giant Uber in a fast-growing market.
Ola Play, as the company has named the new feature, is aimed
at attracting mostly business travellers that use Ola Prime, its
line of mid-sized sedans.
Ola is fighting a pitched battle to try and retain market
share in the country, where its much better capitalized rival
Uber is making a major push and gaining ground.
The company faces a mounting threat from Uber since Uber
sold its China operations to Didi Chuxing in August, extracting
itself from a costly competition and freeing up funds for it to
focus on India, its second largest market outside the United
Ola, backed by Japan's SoftBank Group and China's
Didi Chuxing among others, is valued at more than $5 billion
after raising $1.3 billion in funding. It is looking to raise
another $1 billion this year, according to a source close to the
In an interview with Reuters, Ola co-founder and CEO Bhavish
Aggarwal declined to comment on Ola's fundraising efforts, but
said he saw room for multiple players in the Indian market.
"There is space for different kinds of players," Aggarwal
said. "I don't feel that the market's capping out anytime soon."
Ola said its new Play offering will allow riders, via their
smartphones, to play songs from Apple Music, Sony Liv, or other
platforms. Third-party developers will also be able to develop
apps for Ola Play. Entertainment, shopping and tourism apps will
be among the first to be featured.
(Additional reporting by Rachit Vats and Sankalp Phartiyal;
Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)