- Uber Joins Boat Taxi Market in Lagos
Following the launched of Gboat by Gokada and other boat taxi companies looking to enhance revenue through service expansion, Uber, a global ride-hailing company, is perfecting its plans to expand into two West African nations and offer boat service in Lagos.
Uber’s Chief Business Officer, Brooks Entwistle, who was in Lagos disclosed this on Thursday.
He said the company is in talks with Lagos state regulators regarding boat service on it waterways to ease traffic gridlock in the city.
“We are looking at the waterways here, which are very interesting to us as it relates to a potential service,” Entwistle said. “The company has launched a boat service in the Indian city of Mumbai in the last few months.”
“We did launch Uber Boat in Mumbai and we have watched the product develop. It’s in its early stages and we think there is high relevance here,” he said, referring to Lagos.
Entwistle, who described Lagos as “one of the great growth opportunity cities in the world”, said Uber has also held discussions with a bus firm and regulators in the city.
According to him, personal car ownership is low in sub-Saharan Africa despite the growing population. This, he said is further worsened by the lack of efficient mass transport systems in fast-growing cities.
While Uber has 36,000 active drivers in sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of its operations are in East and South Africa. Uber cab-hailing service is largely absent in West Africa, except Nigeria and Ghana, he stated.
However, Entwistle said the company is already in talks with regulators in Ivory Coast and Senegal regarding a possible entrance into the untapped markets.
“Both Abidjan and Dakar are logical opportunities for us,” said Entwistle, adding that discussions were at an early stage. He did not disclose further details.
“We have talked about West Africa today as being a big growth priority for us and launch priority for us moving forward,” said Entwistle.
This is coming a few weeks after Gokada, a motorbike company operating in Lagos, announced the launch of Gboat.
Transport companies operating in Lagos are starting to realise the challenges posed by Lagos traffic to their revenue. Therefore, in an effort to increase revenue generation and expand operations, they are forced to compete in all transport sub-niches.
Earlier this month, Bolt said it is talking to truck drivers in the country, while Uber just announced it had discussions with a bus firm. The battle for the heart of Lagos continues.
Jeff Bezos Sets a New Record as Net Worth Hits $172bn
Jeff Bezos Breaks His Own Record, Now Worth $172bn
Jeff Bezos, the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Amazon Inc, on Wednesday broke his own record to set a new all-time record of $172 billion net worth.
Bezos’s previous record was $167.7 billion attained in September 2018. However, the billionaire broke the record on Wednesday after Amazon shares gained 4.4 percent to close at $2,878.80 per share.
This is despite the billionaire parting with 19.7 million Amazon shares in July 2019 as part of his divorce settlement to his wife, Mackenzie Bezos.
Mackenzie Bezos’s 19.7 million shares now worth around $56.9 billion, making her the second richest woman and the thirteenth richest person in the world.
Jeff Bezos’s net worth has now risen by $57.4 billion from the year-to-date, according to Bloomberg Billionaire Index.
Opay Pauses Some Business Operations as COVID-19 Bites
OPay Halts Some Business Units Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Opay, a seamless mobile money service provider, has announced it would be putting some of its business units on hold as COVID-19 pandemic bites.
In a statement released by the Chinese owned mobile money start-up on its official twitter page @OPay_NG, the company said “We can confirm that some of our business units including the ride-hailing services, ORide, OCar as well as our logistics service OExpress will be put on pause.”
This, it said was largely due to the tough business environment brought about by COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdown and government ban of motorbikes in Lagos.
The statement read “Globally, ride-sharing businesses have been heavily impacted by the pandemic. But several months ago, foreseeing this issue, OPay had already taken preemptive steps to restructure our business focus away from rides. It is worth to note that this final restructuring has minimal impact on OPay as a whole business.”
“It is important to clarify that ride-sharing had always been only one part, and not a major part of OPay’s diversified business in Nigeria. In fact, OPay had been investing more and seeing accelerated growth in its commitment to Nigeria’s financial and technology inclusion.
“During the pandemic, we have seen continued demand for our offline mobile money agency, and online digital payment, which remains the core of our business.
“From January to April 2020 for example, we witnessed a 44% growth of offline and online transaction value even in the midst of pandemic and lockdown. This is a testament to the high demand for flexible and easy financial services by Nigerians. OPay remains one of the most well-funded and profitable mobile money platforms in Nigeria, and we will continue to do more for our customers.”
Below is the company’s official statement as published on Twitter.
Facebook, Google Earn 80% of Annual Digital Ads Spend – Report
Facebook, Google Earn 80% of the £14bn Spent on Digital Ads in 2019
A recent report from the United Kingdom’s competition watchdog has shown that Facebook and Google earned 80 percent of all the money spent by advertisers on digital platforms in 2019.
In the 440-page report, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), UK said Google and Facebook market positions are having a “profound impact” on newspapers that now receive almost 40 percent of all visits to their sites through the two platforms.
“This dependency potentially squeezes their share of digital advertising revenues, undermining their ability to produce valuable content,” the watchdog said.
This is coming two weeks after Investors King called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to protect Small and Medium businesses against Facebook and Google activities or watch the nation’s SMEs die. Investors King had posited that “Nigerian startups can not compete with Facebook and the recent tax announced by the Federal Government through the ministry of finance would not be enough to stop these giant tech companies from taking advantage of Nigeria’s young growing market.”
According to the CMA report, out of the £14 billion spent on digital advertising in the United Kingdom in 2019, Google with more than 90 percent share of market search earned £7.3 billon while Facebook with more than 50 percent of display market earned £5.5 billion. Representing 80 percent of the total digital ads spent in 2019.
While the report admits that the two platforms help small businesses reach customers and are valued by users, it also said they have “developed such unassailable market positions that rivals can no longer compete on equal terms”.
Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive at CMA, said: “What we have found is concerning – if the market power of these firms goes unchecked, people and businesses will lose out.
“People will carry on handing over more of their personal data than necessary, a lack of competition could mean higher prices for goods and services bought online and we could all miss out on the benefits of the next innovative digital platform.
“Our clear recommendation to government is that a new pro-competitive regulatory regime be established to address the concerns we have identified and regulate a sector which is central to all our lives.”
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