Brand Management

Taxi War Began in Egypt: Uber & Careem Under Attack!

Uber marketing efforts and public relations activities in Egypt successfully translated into results. Cairo has been the fastest growing city for the San Francisco-based company since its launch in the Egyptian capital in November 2014, with the on-demand car service application expanding into Alexandria in November 2015.

The viral stories published on social media would indicate how Uber’s service is welcomed in the Egyptian market. Consequently introducing Uber concept successfully paved the way for Careem [The Middle East’s version of Uber] to launch its service in the Egyptian market.

Related Topic: Cairo is UBER’s fastest growing city across EMEA region

Uber announced an investment of $250 million to expand in the MENA region last November. While Careem trying to dominate Middle East local markets, has also been able to operate in 20 countries, from Morocco to Pakistan, all within the course of three years. Dubai-based Careem has been booming in Egypt, with thousands of their cars providing services in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria.

Taxi Drivers, Not Ready For Competition?

Uber and Careem basic idea is the same: why wait on a street corner in rush hour for an old and unreliable public taxi when you can use an app to order a mid-level car and wait in comfort for its arrival to be announced via a smartphone message?

Careem and Uber’s services compete with local, conventional B2B transportation providers but undoubtedly, Uber and Careem are negatively affecting the profit of traditional taxi drivers.

If people really feel comfortable about traditional taxi service, Careem and Uber wouldn’t have had a chance to win in the Egyptian market. No-wonder you hear now about the “uberification” of the business that used to be called “taxi hire”.

Uber and Careem Hidden Competitor

In addition to Careem and Uber, another application which typically apply the same services provided by Careem and Uber is Easy Taxi which relay on the traditional taxi. Easy Taxi is already operation in 420 cities worldwide and owned by the German Tycoon, Rocket Internet which working hard to be the world’s largest internet platform outside the United States and China.

Easy Taxi is not involved into the attack waged on Careem and Uber because Easy Taxi service restricted to the traditional taxi and they already wrap some of marketing activities with social responsibility flavor to enhance the income of Egyptian taxi drivers and hence provide a better life using the power of mobile marketing.

Cairo Taxi Drivers Call For Protests

Recent worldwide bans and regulations on Uber have reignited the debate surrounding the ride service allover the world and now its Cairo turn. Egypt’s traditional taxi drivers have called for a protest to demand the government immediately ban taxi applications Uber and Careem.

Uber is already available in more than 67 countries and 300 cities worldwide, and has been valued at as much as $50 billion but Uber is facing troubles such as a class-action lawsuit in California by taxi drivers. Also French taxi drivers anti-Uber protests escalated as France highest court decided to uphold a ban on Uber’s low-cost service.

Paris Taxi Drivers Burn Cars in Violent Anti-Uber Riot
Paris Taxi Drivers Burn Cars in Violent Anti-Uber Riot

In Egypt, The government decided to provide unemployed youth with 1000 taxis through facilitated loans last October, Uber and Careem services sounds to be a real threat to young drivers who are not ready to face such a competition.

Uber and Careem will fightback?

The term taxi war first introduced in South Africa from the late 1980s to refer to the turf wars fought between taxi associations and individual minibus taxi drivers. These taxi wars are still raging till today!

Although both Careem and Uber compete and strive for better customer satisfaction and customer retention but both companies seems to have a common interest in growing the market and generally want to reinforce the whole concept against traditional taxi service in Egypt and particularly in Cairo.

Now we wonder if Uber and Careem will decide to be friends against the protest wave?

Think Marketing

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