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1/8/2016, 12:15 PM (Source: TeleTrader)
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Easy Taxi quits Asia to focus on Latin America

Easy Taxi, backed by German investor Rocket Internet, aims to become a big rival to Uber Technologies Inc. and GrabTaxi Holdings Pte. of Singapore in its home region of Latin America. The Brazilian company confirmed that it has left Asia to TechCrunch. The decision isn’t a big surprise, taking into account that Easy Taxi slowly abandoned Asian key markets: India in December 2014, Taiwan in January, Hong Kong in February and Singapore in September.

Before that, the ride hailing app operator was present in 420 cities worldwide, with 20 locations in Asia and in some parts of Africa and the Middle East.

The company dismissed or relocated remaining staff, but left apps open in order to allow customers to stay in contact with the rest of the drivers. This seems rather difficult, because Uber (which invested $1 billion in India) and local rivals Ola, officially ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd. from India, and Grab from Southeast Asia, are trying their best to keep both customers and drivers satisfied.

On the other side, while slowing down in Asia, Easy Taxi has redirected its offer in Latin America, where it currently covers 16 countries, with more cities than Uber. Paul Malicki, Easy Taxi's marketing chief, said the company plans further investment and fund raising in the region.

In December, Easy Taxi was integrated with Tappsi, its Colombian rival, to strengthen its position. The combined operations have eight million rides per month and half a million drivers, according to Malicki. That is more than Lyft Inc., but less than Uber’s global competitors – Didi Kuaidi and Ola. Didi Kuaidi is a taxi-hailing conglomerate operating in China, which recently joined an alliance led by Lyft, clearly aimed to compete against the much larger competitor Uber. Lyft estimated its overall value at $5.5 billion after recently securing $1 billion in financing from General Motors and a group of investors, including Didi Kuaidi, for an autonomous vehicle development project.

Uber is in a planetwide struggle with local authorities in relation to the legality of its services. Earlier last month, for instance, it made a step forward securing approval of Jakarta regional government in Indonesia, and in October it won a court process to be declared legitimate competition to London's black cabs.

Baha Breaking the News (BBN) / IT