Why Uber might not easily conquer the Kenyan Taxi App Market

Uber launches in Kenya

Uber launches in Kenya

Uber finally launched their Kenyan service this week after announcing over a year ago that it would launch its service in Kenya.

The Taxi service app company that has disrupted Taxi business models everywhere else in the world pitting itself against age old taxi companies and even certain governments, will be, from today offering a subsidized rate to all those who will be participating in the Nairobi Restaurant Week. This is a midst growing controversy regarding its business model as well as its staff integrity.

However, Uber is launching its Kenya service at a time when Nairobi Taxi’s market has seemingly already been taken and divided among the numerous apps that have been developed and been in operation. The biggest competition to Uber’s entry into the Kenyan market will be Easy Taxi.

In a press release today, Easy Taxi will be providing FREE taxi rides to all of those who would like to experience NAIROBI RESTAURANT WEEK from the 22nd – 24th of January. (Nairobi Restaurant Week allows foodies to try out different cuisines from specific restaurants at a really great price).

According to a very comprehensive and well researched article done by Malaika Judd of Savannah Fund, the race to capture the Nairobi Taxi app market began early last year. In her article, she noted that despite there being 7 players, the following would be the differentiating factors.

Pricing, payments and business accounts are the easy localization tricks every app quickly incorporates. In fact, the majority of the teams we look at are simply Uber clones + localized pricing + M-Pesa accounts. But that’s not enough. The real challenges are training local drivers to understand and use the app dispatch and payment system and protecting smartphones against theft.

The next coming months will be interesting to watch as Uber tries to cement its place in the fast growing Nairobi’s urban market which will not be ‘like taking  candy from child’.

The good thing from all this is that customers will be able to benefit from the various competition and marketing gimmicks that both Uber and Easy taxi will play upon each other.

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  1. Martin Gicheru (@martingicheru) Reply

    It will be interesting to see how they handle it, we can speculate but we can’t spell doom yet as we don’t know what’s up their sleeve, plus who is their consultant. That may mean all the difference.

    • admin Reply

      Quite true, we can’t spell doom just yet though Uber over estimated the number of people with credit cards and willing to pay for the taxi service with the same. Integration with existing local solutions means a lot especially in a market like Kenya. Other online ventures such as Jumia, & Pesa Pal have learnt this.

  2. Matiri Reply

    This article is true, I feel Uber company is a failure and unethical. This is according to their spread worldwide. They display greed and unruly behaviors in various cities in fact their services have been banned in some countries like Belgium and Spain…….Lets see how they handle Kenya!

    • admin Reply

      There is some serious competition in Kenya with the likes of Easy Taxi and MaraMoja hot on their heels. I haven’t had the best experience with them so far.

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