SINGAPORE (Sept 5): Uber, the global giant of ride hailing, which at the last round of its fundraising was valued at US$68 billion ($92.7 billion), lost US$1.2 billion in the first half of this year compared with a US$987.2 million loss in the same period last year.
The biggest expense for Uber is not R&D for its proprietary software or algorithms or, indeed, marketing and customer acquisition, but driver subsidies.
Now, as the focus shifts to taking humans out of the driver’s seat, the entire business model of ride hailing and ride sharing is being turned upside down. All the mock battles in the ride-hailing and ride-sharing space so far — such as the Uber-Lyft fight in the US; or the recently ended Didi Chuxing-Uber duel in China— have merely been a prelude to the real war that is about to begin. Uber, Didi, Ola, Grab and their ilk know that the elephant in the room has not even shown its hand yet.