Uber Technologies Inc has launched a bus-booking service in Cairo, Egypt the company’s Chief Executive said on his first visit to the country as the company aims to tap a sprawling low-income market.
The company also announced a new Uber Lite app that, from early next year, will allow users with basic Android phones and little connectivity to book trips in the Middle East.
Uber Chief Executive, Dara Khosrowshali in a speech said they are thrilled to celebrate the important role Uber is playing in Egypt, adding that for those that ride as Uber passengers, those who drive on their platform, and for the Egyptian cities that they serve.
“And we are here to announce a couple of very, very exciting new products, some of which we are building right here in Egypt.”
Egypt is home to more than 5 million Uber users, the company is also investing more than $100 million in an Egyptian customer support center.
“Second, I’m excited to be announcing the rollout of Uber Lite across the region. Uber Lite is a simple version of the rider app, built to save space and to work in any network, and on any Android phone. It is piloting in Pakistan to start, and will be expanding to the rest of the Middle East region over the next months,” he said.
Uber has been testing the service since September and will expand across Cairo in the coming months.
The announcement came a day after Uber’s Middle East rival Careem launched a bus-booking service in Egypt.
“We always kept in mind what the best service to provide for the Egyptian citizen could be. We also kept in mind how we, as a country, could support the often used informal sector and make it part of the formal sector, therefore protecting the citizen using the service. This also brings revenues to the country through taxes. As such, we’ve looked at this process from all angles,” said Egypt’s Minister of Investment, Sahar Nasr.
Last month Reuters reported that Careem had been working with investment bank Jefferies on investment options and fundraising, including a potential deal with Uber.