Uber vs. Ola: Taxi app fight for Indian business heats up

The battle for India's taxi-riding business travelers is heating up. Uber rival Ola, the dominant taxi-hailing app in India, launched a service aimed at providing cabs for the business sector on Monday.

The Indian start-up, which is valued at around $5 billion, says its new "Ola Corporate" enterprise service will have the same prices at its consumer offering and businesses will be able to save up to 60 percent on their travel costs.

Ola's app works in a similar way to Uber where users can tap to request a ride. The firm says it can get a cab to riders in less than five minutes.


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The corporate service allows employees to bill their employer directly through the app, rather than a company having to reimburse the employee. All a user has to do is choose "corporate ride" on within the app.

"The corporate dashboard allows for improved efficiency and productivity for businesses, taking away the hassle of scheduling pickups and cumbersome billing and payment processes," Pranay Jivrajka, chief operating officer at Ola, said in a press release.

Ola is attempting to defend its market-leading position in India against Uber which is rapidly expanding into the world's biggest democracy. Last year, the San Francisco start-up said it would pour $1 billion into expansion in India and said it would hit 1 million daily rides by March 2016. Indian business giant Tata invested $100 million into Uber in 2015.

Uber also has its own enterprise offering called "Uber for Business" which it launched in July 2014. It is also available in India.

"It is one of our fastest growing products and over 50,000 companies have signed up including several in India. We are seeing extensive interest among corporates in India with many already using the product in several cities across India," an Uber spokesperson told CNBC by email.

The company declined to give exact customer numbers in India. Ola also said it could not comment on the number of customers it has for its corporate platform.