- On Thursday, SoftBank became one of Uber’s largest investors.
- The checks were barely cut when Uber’s new board member from SoftBank hinted that SoftBank was ready to throw its weight around and influence the direction of the company.
- The problem is what SoftBank wants Uber to do may be better for SoftBank than for Uber.
The instant the checks were cashed in Softbank’s $9.3 billion investment in Uber on Thursday, SoftBank started throwing its weight around.
Rajeev Misra, Uber’s new board member from SoftBank, told the Financial Times on Thursday that the company would hit profitability faster if it left certain international markets and focused on others. He wants Uber to concentrate on growing its business in the US, Europe, Latin America and Australia.
Notice the region he didn’t mention? Asia.
Even though Uber has been known to exit money-pit markets like China or Russia, giving up on Asia would still be a major shift from Uber’s mission of “transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone.”
More importantly, under new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber is making parts of Asia into a model of the kinder, cooperative, law-abiding company that Khosrowshahi wants to build. Throughout Asia, Uber has inked several partnerships with taxi companies, once its sworn enemies. Even in India, where Uber faces stiff competition and had a rocky start (including a high-profile rape of a passenger that led to Uber’s temporary ouster from the country), the company by the end of 2016 claimed it had a profitable, 40% market share.
Such examples are especially important as Uber tries to get in the good graces of London regulators, one of the most important markets in Europe. Uber lost its London license in September thanks to a number of scandals including the use of a technology called Greyball used to Read More Here