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| 08 February, 2018

Number of licensed ride-hailing apps in Saudi Arabia hits 20

Licensed apps include Uber, Careem, My Taxi, Jahz and Taxi Watani, among others

Image for illustrative purposes. Smartphone featuring the Uber app.

Image for illustrative purposes. Smartphone featuring the Uber app.

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Saudi Arabia’s Public Transport Authority (PTA) has said that there are now 20 ride-hailing applications that are licensed to run in the kingdom during the first quarter of 2018.

The licensed apps are: Uber, Careem, My Taxi, Jahz, Gazelle, Samara Ride, To You, Ohride, Limo, Blank, Ajeek, Muhrah, Hoadaj Me, Taxi Watani, Taxiaat, Tamam, Roodi, Easy Taxi, Cabi, and Safe Cab, according to a post published on the Authority’s  PTA’s official LinkedIn account on Wednesday.

The two most popular ride-hailing apps in the kingdom are Uber and Careem, and the two rivals are competing intensely for market share.

Around 80 percent of customers of both Uber and Careem are women, and the state has facilitated the regulatory framework for such apps in line with its economic overhaul plan to increase the participation of women in the workforce.

A royal decree allowing women to drive in the kingdom, which will come into effect in June, is expected to have a major impact on car transport businesses operating in Saudi Arabia.

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The co-founder of Dubai-based Careem sees this as a positive development for businesses.

“As women will be able to drive, the society will open up even more and there will be more economic activity, so these changes will benefit the country as a whole,” Magnus Olsson told Zawya earlier this week during an event held in Abu Dhabi.

In December 2016, Saudi Telecom's venture capital arm, STC Ventures, invested $100 million in Careem, while in June 2016 the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) acquired a $3.5 billion stake in Uber.

(Reporting by Nada Al Rifai; Editing by Michael Fahy)

(nada.rifai@thomsonreuters.com)

© ZAWYA 2018