Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the firm will aggressively invest in Southeast Asia despite the fact it expects to lose money in the region. SoftBank’s 15 percent stake purchase in Uber last month has opened up the possibility of combining Uber with other ride-hailing assets the Japanese group owns across Asia.
Bending the company’s financial trajectory out of the red would be a dramatic shift for the global ride-hailing service that loses billions of dollars a year. Speaking to Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait at the World Economic Forum in Davos , Khosrowshahi said that even as the company would continue to be aggressive about expansion , it’s finding ways to be more efficient.
The Uber CEO said he was originally more skeptical of driverless cars , but that he’s been won over. He predicted the technology is advancing so quickly that a child born today won’t need to learn to drive. He noted the general public still has to grapple with the impact of the technology , particularly when there are accidents. While he said traffic fatalities will fall , companies such as Uber will be held responsible when there are collisions.
At the time of the investment , SoftBank said it wants Uber to focus on growing in the United States , Europe , Latin America and Australia – not Asia , which has been among the most costly and competitive regions for the ride-services firm , a source had told Reuters.
Uber has faced bans , restrictions and protests around the world as it disrupts conventional taxi services and Khosrowshahi is tackling this head-on by working with regulators , putting an end to the take-no-prisoners culture he inherited.