Uber launches its ride-hailing app in Pakistan

Uber Technologies Inc. launched its ride-hailing app in Pakistan on Thursday, as part of the company’s $250 million investment push that also includes expanding into the Middle East and North Africa.

The San Francisco-based company will initially offer its service in the eastern city of Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city with an estimated population of 10 million. The South Asian nation is the 69th market for Uber, which was valued at over $60b after a funding round in December.

Uber said the process to get approval from Pakistani authorities was smooth. “We have been welcomed with open arms by the government of Punjab and the regulators in Lahore, who see the need for Uber,” said Shaden Abdellatif, a spokeswoman for the company.

The ride-hailing app’s reception in Lahore, capital of the country’s Punjab province, is in contrast with Uber’s experience in neighboring India, where it has faced regulatory hurdles including a ban on its services in the capital Delhi.

Some companies offer on-call cab services in Lahore, but their impact has been limited. Uber will have competitors like Dubai-based Careem, which also offers services through a smartphone app.

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