Competition in world ride-hailing and tech-enabled transport market is heating up as rivals from global giant Uber to smaller local firms vie for a slice of the Middle East’s largest market.
Operators say there is a lot more room for growth. Taxis, minibusses, tuk-tuks, and motorbikes shuttle passengers and deliveries through crowded, chaotic streets.
Reuters reported that the biggest players are Careem and Uber, which had its IPO in May and posted a wider third-quarter loss on Monday as it tries to outspend competitors.
Uber bought Careem for $3.1 billion in March and the deal is expected to close in January. When the deal closes, Careem will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber but will continue to operate as an independent brand with independent management.
Industry experts expect more mergers as start-ups try to gain market share for bus or motorbike services.
Egypt is among Uber’s top 10 markets globally, and is seen as a regional tech hub – start-ups such as digital payments firm Fawry have set up shop in a tech park outside Cairo.
According to Reuters, Uber has 90,000 active drivers in Egypt, operates in about half of Egypt’s 27 governorates, and is looking to expand next year to the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh and southern Egypt, its Egypt General Manager, Ahmad Hammouda, told Reuters.
This year, Uber riders and drivers in Egypt faced technical difficulties with the Uber app, which two security sources said were linked to data-sharing disputes with the authorities.