By Nicolas Parasie The Wall Street Journal Wed., Feb. 6, 2019 DUBAI—Uber Technologies Inc. is intensifying its pursuit of Middle East riders after retreating from other international markets in recent years, lured by the region’s exploding youth population. After backing out of costly fights with rivals in China, Russia and Southeast Asia, Uber is expanding its presence in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. The company has also engaged in on-and-off talks to acquire its main Middle East competitor, Careem, according to people familiar with the matter. Countries like Jordan and Qatar don’t add much revenue to Uber’s bottom line, but the region is attractive because of its booming population of tech-savvy youth. Of the Middle East’s roughly 400 million people, more than 40% are under 25 years old, according to PwC, making the region one of the world’s youngest. Uber executives say they are looking to reach a billion users as the company prepares for an initial public offering this year at a potential valuation of up to $120 billion (U.S.). In its third-quarter earnings report in November, Uber said the Middle East and India were the two “high-potential markets” where the company would be investing heavily,… Read full this story
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