Uber’s deal with a cab firm in Singapore helps the company offload the costs of owning cars

Uber has agreed to create a joint venture that merges its car-leasing subsidiary with major taxi firm ComfortDelGro.

Uber has sold a majority stake in its Singaporean car-leasing subsidiary to cab firm ComfortDelGro. As part of the deal, the two companies have created a joint venture — valued at $ 474 million — which ComfortDelGro will control with its 51 percent stake.

Uber will own the rest of the car-leasing company, called Lion City Rentals, while ComfortDelGro will take over operations and maintenance of the 14,000 cars that were once on the ride-hail player’s balance sheet.

That’s a big deal for Uber, which is eyeing a 2019 IPO.

The $ 69 billion ride-hail company saw its losses jump nearly 40 percent to $ 1.46 billion in the third quarter of 2017, and it doesn’t expect to be profitable in some of its major markets, including Southeast Asia, for at least another six months. Cutting down on losses has been a major focus for newly minted CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, as it was for predecessor Travis Kalanick.

That’s partly what led to the company’s decision in November to merge its Russia business with local competitor Yandex.

Southeast Asia, by Khosrowshahi’s own admission, is not an easy market to crack.

“The economics of that market are not what we want them to be,” Khosrowshahi recently said. “I think it’s over-capitalized at this point. We’re going in, and we’re leaning forward. But I‘m not optimistic that market is going to be profitable any time soon.”

The difficulty of facing off against a strong competitor, Grab, has been compounded by the high cost of car ownership in the region. That has made it harder for Uber to translate its model of turning casual drivers into commercial ones, especially now that Singapore has put a freeze on private car ownership.

Uber’s initial value proposition for investors was its low overhead, but in places like Singapore and India, the company had to take on the costs of owning and leasing cars in order to maintain or increase supply.

Now, under the chief business officer of Uber’s Asia operations, Brooks Entwistle, the company is shifting its strategy.

Not only is Uber offloading the costs of operating these cars in Singapore, but the company will have exclusive access to Comfort’s approximately 15,000 cabs and expects to strike more partnerships with cab companies in the future.

That’s counter to how Uber has operated since its inception. The company has historically leveraged public dissatisfaction with the safety and efficiency of cabs to attract new riders.

But places like Singapore have a robust and often reliable taxi industry, and it makes more sense for the ride-hail company to partner with the cab companies. That’s partly why Uber competitor Grab, formerly known as GrabTaxi, started off as a taxi-hailing app and continues to work with a number of cab companies in Singapore, except for Comfort.

Still, running a leasing company hasn’t been without its problems.

Lion City Rentals and Uber recently faced a firestorm of criticism when a car under lease caught fire. As the Wall Street Journal revealed, the company knowingly rented out cars that were under manufacturer recall due to an electrical component that could overheat and catch fire.


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How iOS 11’s ‘Offload Unused Apps’ Saves iPhone Storage Space

iOS 11 comes with a lot of new features that Apple didn’t get the chance to showcase at WWDC 2017. An interesting new feature that wasn’t mentioned during the keynote is ‘Offload Unused Apps’.

When we download a lot of apps from the App Store, we tend to forget the ones that are used less frequently. These unused apps pile up and take a considerable amount of storage space, which could otherwise be put into better use. iOS 11 solves this problem with a new feature called ‘Offload Unused Apps’.

As the name implies, this feature will automatically remove the apps that are used less frequently to free up space on your iPhone or iPad. The good thing is that the associated documents and data are kept on your device so that when you re-install the app from the App Store, all of its data will be present.

When iOS removes an app in this way, the app’s icon will remain on the Home screen, but it will be greyed out to indicate that it has been offloaded.

This new feature is disabled by default, but if you have iOS 11 beta installed and wish to enable this feature, here’s how to do it.

How to Enable ‘Offload Unused Apps’ in iOS 11

Step 1: Open the Settings app.

Step 2: Go to iTunes & App Store.

Step 3: Go to the bottom and toggle on Offload Unused Apps.

enable offload unused apps

Now that you have enabled this feature, iOS 11 will automatically remove the apps that you haven’t used in a while, but their data will remain on your device.

Given how easy it is to install apps from the App Store, many of us end up downloading a bunch of different applications, most of which are used rarely. This feature helps to remove unused apps to avoid wasting your space. It’s very useful for those who own an iPhone with 16GB or 32GB storage space.

Apple has released the first beta of iOS 11 to users who are part of the Apple Developer Program. While the final build of iOS 11 is expected to be released to the public in September, you can install iOS 11 beta right now without a developer account. Read the following article to find out how: How to Install iOS 11 Beta for Free Without Developer Account

iOS 11 is packed with tons of exciting new features and UI changes, ranging from a redesigned App Store and Control Center to a native screen recorder and smarter Siri. Check out our list of the top 14 features of iOS 11.

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