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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Report: Qatar Investment Authority buys stake in taxi tech firm Uber

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund is investing millions of dollars into mobile taxi dispatching firm Uber as the high-tech startup looks to expand its presence in the Middle East, according to a media report.

The Wall Street Journal said the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) participated in a US$1.2 billion financing round alongside hedge funds Valiant Capital Partners and Lone Pine Capital.

Neither Uber or QIA has commented on the report.

San Francisco-based Uber has been operating in Qatar for approximately a year as part of its global expansion and allows customers to book a taxi using their smartphone. The company does not employ drivers and instead considers itself to be a technology firm specializing in connecting drivers with passengers and processing payments.

Backing a relatively new technology venture – Uber was founded in 2009 – appears as somewhat of a departure from QIA’s traditional investing strategy, which has in recent years focused on hospitality, retail, commodities, financial services and real estate.

Some of its holdings include high-end luxury brands such as automaker Porsche, financial firms Barclays and Credit Suisse as well as British shopping icon Harrods.

Strategic partnership

Reports say that Uber may have been looking for more than just money in its recent financing rounds and was seeking a sovereign wealth fund as a strategic partner that could facilitate its expansion into new regions by reducing regulatory hurdles.

The company has faced legal challenges in some jurisdictions. Late last month, the City of Toronto requested a court injunction to bar Uber from operating in Canada’s largest city because it didn’t comply with local regulations governing taxi operators.

So far, that hasn’t been the case in Qatar. Locally, Uber is competing against state-owned Mowasalat – which operates Karwa taxis and licenses the Al Million, Al Ijarah, Capital Taxi and Cars Taxi franchise – as well as fellow mobile limo booking service Careem.

Leadership changes

The report of QIA’s investment in Uber comes amid senior leadership changes at QIA, which invests a portion of Qatar’s oil and gas revenues as a way of minimizing the risk posed by fluctuating energy prices to the country’s finances.

Late last week, state news agency QNA announced that Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani had been appointed as QIA’s new chief executive.

The chairman of state-owned telecom firm Ooredoo since 2000, Al Thani also served as chief of the Emiri Diwan from 2000 to 2005 and is a past member of Qatar’s planning council, according to his Ooredoo biography.

He replaces Ahmed Al Sayed, who was appointed as QIA’s chief executive in mid-2013 after serving as CEO of Qatar Holdings, QIA’s direct investment arm.

The Financial Times reported that the move is part of efforts by Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to insert his own team into senior government positions, and that Sayed was seen as being too close to former prime minister Hamad bin Jassim, who resigned when the last emir abdicated.

“This is about a spring clean against the old guard,” the Financial Times quoted a Qatari businessman as saying.

Reuters reported that Al Sayed will retain his minister of state title and become an advisor to Sheikh Tamim.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Thani
Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Thani

QNA also said that the Emir has reshuffled QIA’s board of directors. The moves include Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Thani replacing the Emir as chairperson. Sheikh Abdullah is the half-brother of Sheikh Tamim and was named deputy-Emir last month.

The board also includes Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed Al Thani as vice-chairperson as well as Ali Sharif Al Emadi, Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al Thani and Dr. Hussein Ali Al Abdullah.

Thoughts?

22 COMMENTS

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Jr Derha
Jr Derha
6 years ago

meaning uber services in doha are now legal? at last, alternative vs Karwa!

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed
Reply to  Jr Derha

I’m sure they’re working “under karwa”… or a “limousine” service… The drivers are not using their own cars, that would be illegal.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

They actually have agreements with many limousine services but not Karwa. They give them training and an iPhone (locked to the Uber app) and that’s it. Also, these Limousine companies are not supposed to work exclusively for Uber and they can disconnect from Uber’s system to take some clients independently and then reconnect whenever they want.

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed
Reply to  Yacine

Thanks for the info.

Fazii Sawant
Fazii Sawant
6 years ago

http://goo.gl/IVKvd4

DO READ THIS GUYS .. ITS ABOUT UBER .. recent news .. every1 must b aware

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago
Reply to  Fazii Sawant

That incident would appear to be a geographical problem, as opposed to an Uber problem?

Rien
Rien
6 years ago
Reply to  Myrddin

Incorrect! … it is not a geographical problem! There are hundreds of so called Uber drivers, in dozens of countries, have been convicted of serious crimes around the world … do a google search and you will know the facts. Besides it is silly to attribute rape as an isolated “geographical problem”, it exits everywhere, including Qatar.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  Rien

Crimes involving taxi drivers happen everywhere, but I suspect they are less with uber but every uber case gets a lot of attention, partly because of the driver’s details being shared with the user and also because it’s the new player challenging the old system, so they come under a lot of scrutiny. I personally would rather get into a car knowing the details and being able to share this info with friends/family, plus the journey is tracked which could also assist in an investigation if something happened (they not only track the journey but the time taken and stationary time as well)

Fazii Sawant
Fazii Sawant
6 years ago
Reply to  Rien
Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago
Reply to  Rien

“New Delhi recorded the highest number of rapes in India in 2013, earning the dubious distinction as “rape capital.””

Taken from the report Fazil linked to.

Blue
Blue
6 years ago
Reply to  Myrddin

http://time.com/3640027/uber-rape-boston/

Perhaps uber were complacent after reading your comment…..

Grantley
Grantley
6 years ago
Reply to  Fazii Sawant

The story is indeed worrying however some of the comments on it are even more worrying…….

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago
Reply to  Grantley

Indeed. I am always shocked that there are still men out there who condone and justify rape by way of ‘ she was drunk, wearing tight clothes, on her own, so she was asking for it’.
Everytime a man commits rape he degenerates his own gender.

Doc
Doc
6 years ago

Seeing as Uber know who you are, which car you are in and which driver you have it is safer than normal Taxi and certainly unlicenced ones. I have not used any other transport since Uber launched here and recommend it

Rien
Rien
6 years ago
Reply to  Doc

Unfortunately, that is not correct … Uber car or driver is not necessarily “safer” … the so called Uber drivers in dozens of countries, around the world ,have been charged with several serious crimes … Uber does not take any responsibility for the conduct of the drivers … remember that Uber is not a taxi service company, Uber only connects commuters with nearby pre-registered cab drivers through a mobile application.

Doc
Doc
6 years ago
Reply to  Rien

Have you used uber? You are sent the drivers name, picture and car details which you can then track. The very fact these details are recorded make it safer. Yes drivers have done bad things and been caught as their details are stored. Would you find a driver working from a unregistered taxi so easy?

Ben
Ben
6 years ago

By far the best taxi service here. The Careem one is also ok but not as good.
Easy to book and there is generally a car nearby, you don’t have to faff about with money an no drivers trying to get a better meter free deal.
Probay the safest as you get told the drivers name and car number and you even get sent a picture of their face!

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

That is a sensible investment, even though it came a bit late. If Qatar invested in Apple and Facebook 6 or 7 years ago it would have generated huge profits by now.

Fazii Sawant
Fazii Sawant
6 years ago

http://www.scoopwhoop.com/news/shifted-priorities/?ref=social&type=fb&b=0

Here is the another news of uber cab drivers .. srsly annoying now -_- em hating this !!

Fazii Sawant
Fazii Sawant
6 years ago
Razi Razack
Razi Razack
6 years ago

Delhi government bans Uber taxi company
The Delhi government banned all activities by Uber taxi company after one of its drivers was arrested on charges of raping a woman.
The Delhi government’s transport department also blacklisted the international cab booking company from providing any transport service in the national capital in future, an official statement said.

The action came a day after the accused driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav, who allegedly raped the woman here Friday night, was arrested from Mathura in Uttar Pradesh.

The government said that in response to “the unfortunate and heinous crime”, it had cancelled the taxi’s permit and registration certificate as well as the driver’s license.

The statement accused Uber of misleading the commuter who was raped about the nature of the taxi service offered by “Uber App”.

Uber was also faulted for violating the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 by providing the commuter for local journey a taxi with an all-India permit.

“Keeping in view the above violation and the horrific crime committed by the driver, the transport department has banned all activities related to providing any transport service by Uber with immediate effect.

“The transport department has also blacklisted the company from providing any transport service in the National Capital Territory of Delhi in future.”

According to the Uber web site, the company, started in 2009, operates in over 200 cities globally “by seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through our App”.

Arrested Uber driver could be a ‘serial rapist’

The Uber taxi driver accused of raping a 25-year-old working woman on Friday night, could be a serial rapist, Delhi police authorities revealed earlier today.

Shiv Kumar Yadav, driver of the popular taxi service Uber, who was arrested in Mathura on December 7, allegedly told the police after interrogation that he was imprisoned for seven months for raping a 22-year-old employee of a Gurgaon pub in 2011 and was out on bail.

The Delhi police said he was accused of rape in 2011 but Uber got his background check done when he was hired and found nothing incriminating. The cops also added that the cab did not have the mandatory GPS.

Delhi police authorities was quoted by Mail Today as saying: ‘Yadav was questioned at the Highway Police station after he was nabbed from Chandrapuri Mohalla. After sustained interrogation, he broke down and admitted that he had raped the 25-year-old girl when she was returning from a party in Vasant Vihar in south Delhi to her home in Inderlok in North Delhi on Friday night.’

Officials added it was then that the accused also disclosed that he was involved in a separate rape incident.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (North), Madhur Verma told Mail Today: ‘After raping, and then threatening the victim not to report the incident, Yadav went to his ancestral house in Chandrapuri Mohalla on Saturday morning. His wife was not expecting him home at that time and, seeing him in a dishevelled state, asked him if he was the rapist news channels had been reporting on. He lied to her, saying he was being framed in a false case. He told her they would have to leave immediately. But before they could flee, several teams of Delhi Police arrived and Yadav took off on his own.’

On Sunday, Shiv Kumar Yadav was taken into custody from his hideout in Mathura, about 135 km south of the capital, Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat told IANS in Delhi.

The 32-year-old driver, a resident of Mathura, was caught in a joint operation by Delhi and Uttar Pradesh Police force.

A police official told IANS in Mathura that Yadav was being interrogated at the Highway Police Station after he was nabbed from Chandrapuri colony. Police said they have also seized a white car.

The driver, employed with international cab-booking company Uber, is accused of raping the woman who was returning home in north Delhi’s Inderlok area from Gurgaon, where she is employed as an analyst in a finance company in Sector 21 for the past three years.

After the name of Uber came up in the case, the app-based ride-sharing service Sunday issued a statement, saying it has given police all details of the driver and GPS information.

“Our thoughts are with the victim of this terrible crime and we are working with police as they investigate. We will assist them in any way we can. It is also our policy to immediately suspend a driver’s account following allegations of a serious incident, which we have done,” Uber spokeswoman Evelyn Tay said in a statement.

“Safety is Uber’s highest priority, and in India, we work with licensed driver-partners to provide a safe transportation option, with layers of safeguards such as driver and vehicle information, and ETA-sharing to ensure there is accountability and traceability of all trips that occur on the Uber platform,” the spokeswoman said.

In her police complaint, the woman said she finished her day-long shift around 7 p.m. Friday and went to a hotel in Gurgaon for dinner with her friends.

The woman was later dropped in Vasant Vihar area by her friends from where she hired a private cab around 9.30 pm, police said quoting from the complaint.

“While on my way home, I fell asleep on the back seat of the cab. A few minutes later, I realised that the car was stopped at a secluded place and the driver was molesting me,” the woman said in her complaint.

She said the driver slapped her many times when she objected to his molestation attempt.

“I tried to unlock the cab door but failed. The driver threatened to kill me and raped me,” the woman said.

Police said the driver later dropped the woman near her home and once again threatened her with dire consequences if she approached police.

Police said the woman made a call to the police control room around 1.30 a.m. Saturday and informed officials about her ordeal. (Agencies)

Mr Haydar
Mr Haydar
6 years ago

And I was wondering how they let them in! Alternative to traditional limousine services are getting help from some friends in high places. Sure I am against without prior legislation that would require Uber vehicles be insured by a commercial liability policy and inspected regularly. It would also mandate background checks for drivers.

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