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India is now home to Uber’s businesses in the country

Booming food delivery business is making global majors rework India ops. While Uber is bringing its India arm HQ into the country, Amazon will launch private food brands

, ET Bureau|
Oct 04, 2019, 08.16 AM IST
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iStock-960461356UBEREATS
Uber entered the food delivery business in 2017 when Swiggy and Zomato, had already roped in major restaurants and chains in exclusive partnerships.
BENGALURU: Ride-hailing company Uber has restructured its corporate holdings and brought its India business, including food delivery, under Uber India Systems, which is registered in the country, sources said.

The rides business and Uber’s food delivery arm were earlier part of Uber BV, a private limited liability company registered in the Netherlands. As a result, its agreements with restaurants and payouts, which were earlier routed through the Netherlands entity, are being moved to India, two people said.

The rides business will also be invoiced out of India going forward. The restructured business operations went live on October 1. Uber was exempt from dual taxation because of a tax treaty between India and the Netherlands.

“Eats and rides will now operate from the same India entity,” said a person aware of the restructuring process. The move is intended to make Uber’s operations legally sound, without any ambiguity, he added. ET could not independently ascertain the motive behind the firm’s restructuring.

Separately, two top UberEats executives - India chief Bhavik Rathod and head of central operations Deepak Reddy have resigned, multiple people told ET.

Uber confirmed the development. “After six memorable years with Uber...Bhavik Rathod has decided to pursue his entrepreneurial dream...and will be leaving Uber in October,” a spokesperson said. During the interim period, Raj Beri, the head of Uber Eats APAC and EMEA, will manage UberEats India. UberEats has close to 120 employees here, all on its India payroll.

MANAGEMENT RESHUFFLE
UberEats recently hired Google’s Vineet Deopujari as director of sales. Bansi Kotecha, who was promoted to operations and head of cities, Uber India and SA for Eats, is leading its dayto-day operations.

The changes come at a time when Uber has been under pressure to optimise its food delivery and rides business. Talks of a deal with multiple players, including Swiggy and Amazon to sell its food delivery arm, have not fructified as yet.

At the same time, India’s ride hailing industry is witnessing sluggish growth, averaging 3.65 million rides daily, a 4% increase over last year. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is set to visit India later this month, one person said, although the company declined to comment on his travel plans.

Uber entered the food delivery business in 2017 when the two largest players in the market, Swiggy and Zomato, had already roped in major restaurants and chains in exclusive partnerships.

Uber then relied heavily on discounting to acquire and retain users, and while it has been able to establish market leadership in some small towns and cities, the two larger food delivery companies continue to fight for market leadership.

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