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It is going to be a packed 48-hour trip for Uber Technologies Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dara Khosrowshahi, is scheduled to arrive on Thursday.
On his first visit to India, he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, as well as some of industry titans, sources said.
According to sources, the Uber CEO, who recently took over the reins from its founder Travis Kalanick, is on a multi-nation tour to make it clear the company is serious about its markets and is not going to scale back on operations.
“He will have a number of meetings lined up, including with the finance minister and commerce minister. He will also be meeting the prime minister at an event, which is going to happen over the next two days,” a source said.
Khosrowshahi will also give a lecture at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi. “He might talk about shared mobility as a concept, as well as flying cars. He might also meet a couple of students, understand projects they are doing and even have a brief free-wheeling conversation with them,” the source added.
He will have a chat with NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, who had also met Kalanick when he came to India sometime ago.
Experts believe the main reason behind Khosrowshahi’s visit to India is to reiterate they are serious about the market here — the largest outside the US. According to reports, in Japan, Khosrowshahi’s first stop during the trip, he said he was ready to get into tie-ups with local taxi firms.
Of late, the markets were rife with speculation over Uber’s journey in India after a comment made by Rajeev Misra, a board member of SoftBank.
With formal closing of $9.3-billion investment, Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank has become the largest shareholder in Uber.
Misra told the Financial Times that Uber would have a faster path to profitability if it returned to its core markets such as the US, Europe, Latin America and Australia.
“This is a growth company, this is not just about them cutting losses,” he said. “Who cares if they lost a billion more or half a billion less?”
Experts believe Khosrowshahi will try to put all rumours to rest and reassert its stand.
India is the most important country in Uber’s expansion plans, as they are already out of China.