– This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on September 14, Monday.
Welcome to CNBC Business Daily, I'm Qian Chen.
Uber may have popularized the concept of ride-hailing apps, with this ride-sharing service hiring 160,000 drivers in the U.S, and 20,000 new drivers a month in the that world-wide.
But here in Asia, there are a number of companies that are challenging Uber's dominance.
Unfortunately, they are also facing similar regulatory roadblocks.
Oriel Morrison talks to one of Uber's biggest rival in India - Ola Cabs.
Anand Subramanian | Spokesperson, Ola
R Raghunathan | Management Consulting Partner, PwC (search raghu pwe)
Anand Subramanian | Spokesperson, Ola
Search EA India 5 15:33:20 onwards - traffic jams
Traffic jamS like THESE ARE a common sight in Indian cities.
BUT IF YOU THINK THAT'S BECAUSE OF A HIGH NUMBER OWNING CARS, THINK AGAIN.
[Anand Subramanian Spokesperson, Ola] "125718 A: If you look at the personal transportation industry in India, it's still very nascent. Car ownership in India is as low as 3%. // 125733 So people really, really look forward to a mode of transportation that can be safe and reliable."
That's what India's largest ride-hailing app company -- Ola -- is trying to provide.
Analysts say the model works well for congested Indian cities, which suffer from traffic gridlocks, and crumbling infrastructure.
[R Raghunathan, Management Consulting Partner, PwC] "4:25:55 What the taxi hailing apps have been doing, is actually identify a critical gap in India's transport infrastructure and move in quickly to meet the need, where either the authorities were not moving, or private investors were not moving fast enough 4:26:11"
But the growth path for this taxi aggregator has been anything but smooth.
Like Uber, Ola has been getting backlash from traditional cab operators, and embroiled in controversies about safety and licencing rights.
Despite the bumpy ride, Ola HAS managed to speed ahead.
Set up just 5 years ago, the company is now operating in 100 Indian cities, and estimated to be worth about 2 billion dollars.
In terms of rides and revenue, Ola is still way ahead of its closest rival.
The Banglalore based company claims that it is clocking 1 million rides per day compared to Uber's 200,000.
Uber is planning to invest $1 billion in India to catch up.
On the other hand, Ola managed to raised $400 million earlier this year to help expand its fleet.
But analysts say serving India's congested cities requires a lot more than money -- maintaining a consistent, safe and high quality service are a key for a smooth ride.
Now, let's take a look at Japan and how sharing economy is doing over there. CNBC's Kaori Enjoji reports.
Expensive. No wonder fewer people are buying cars in Japan.
A window of opportunity for Park24, which ventured into car sharing about five years ago and now has more than half a million members.
[EIJI SATO, Park24 Group] "Shopping, picking up the kids, during business trips... if you need a car for just two to three hours, sharing is easier than renting."
The company is taking the idea one step further with this teeny electric car/slash/bike.
Toyota's i=Road is not on sale yet.
For just 412 yen for a 15-minute ride, it turns Tokyo into an amusement park.
At just 2.3 meters long, 87 centimeters wide... I thought I would feel tiny. But instead, the road feels huge. Top speed is 60 kilos, but no one travels that fast in the center of Tokyo anyway.
It's steered with the rear wheels. Tech wise, beauty is that it leans as you turn a corner, not with your own weight as you would on a bike, but automatically.
[AKIHIRO YANAKA, Project General Manager, Toyota] "It's small, so there's less stress on the environment. Technology is for finding solutions - in this case making something people would WANT to have running around. It's fun and convenient."
It's fun.. but I'm wondering if it's really any more convenient that taking the subway, which is super efficient here. But there's definitely a feel good factor in knowing you can just pack up and go... isn't that what being mobile really means? Kaori Enjoji, CNBC, Tokyo##
Elsewhere, in southeast Asia, GrabTaxi is a big player here.
Its founder & CEO Anthony Tan said that the company has grown over 10 times since last year.
The key to success in this region?
Here's what he got to say.
[Anthony Tan] "114222 Making sure we are the most relevant. So, offering locally relevant services ... delivery service that people want things delivered, e-commerce deliveries. We have cash availability, as you know in many of these countries in the region many people don't have credit cards or debit cards, so they need cash. We've been available there. Just having all these options people can call, to book as well. So, having that availability and assessibility not just in tier 1 cities, but across tier 1, tier 2, tier 3 cities across the region. Having that and being relevant is what really differentiate us. 114304"
CNBC's Qian Chen, reporting from Singapore.