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Careem plans fast expansion in the region

More new cities to be added to the service, looks at IPO

Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
Mudassir Shaikha at panel discussion during the Global Manufacturing & Industrialisation Summit on Wednesday.
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Dubai-based ride hailing taxi service Careem is looking at expanding in existing markets as well as entering into new markets, the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer said in Abu Dhabi.

“Our focus is the broader Middle East from Morocco to Pakistan. There are many markets in the region we are not in still. We are looking at all these markets and some markets in North Africa and Levant,” said Mudassir Shaikha speaking to Gulf News on the sidelines of Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

The company is also planning to add more cities to its network in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan.

“We are already present in big cities like Riyadh, Dammam, Taif and other cities. Next we are looking at second tier cities. In Egypt we just launched in Delta cities and more will be added in future. In Pakistan two more cities will come online.”

The company is active in eleven countries from Pakistan to North Africa and currently employees around 150,000 drivers with 50,000 in Egypt alone.

The company is valued at about $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) following an investment of $350 million by Saudi Arabia’s state telecoms company and Japanese internet firm Raukten.

Acquisitions

When asked whether the company is looking at an IPO, he said it is one of several options. On acquisitions, he said they are open to look at them but there are no plans currently.

In Abu Dhabi, the firm started operations after sorting out regulatory related issues with the authorities.

“There was some confusion on the regulatory framework from our side and we removed our cars. Now we are back in the city with full operations.”

The company suspended services in August last year along with rival Uber.

When asked whether he is planning to launch operations in Iran, he said there is nothing to talk about this stage.

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