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Russia’s Yango takes on Careem with Dubai launch

Yango plans to compete with established ride-hailing apps in Dubai on price, technology and punctuality

Ride-hailing app Yango, owned by Russian technology giant Yandex, has made its Gulf debut by launching in Dubai, and said it plans to compete with established competitors Uber, Careem and Hala.

Yango operates in 24 countries across Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa and uses an Uber-style model where it does not own any vehicles, but uses it technology to connect partner drivers and passengers through its app.

“We are delighted to officially announce the launch of our service in Dubai, one of the most influential economic centres in the region, attracting investments and people from all over the world,” said Islam Abdul Karim, general manager for Yango GCC.

Dubai is already home to local operator Careem, which recently celebrated a decade in business, international giant Uber, which bought Careem for $3.1 billion in 2020, and Hala Taxi, a partnership launched between Careem and the state-owned Road and Transport Authority in 2019.

Karim said he aims to compete for market share by offering better on price, technology and punctuality.

“It’s technology that we are bringing to the market. So, the speed, how fast the driver gets the order, and how [fast] the customer gets the ride is very important for us,” he told AGBI.

“And our premium tariffs, for first-class types of cars like the BMW 7 Series, Cadillac Escalate, Mercedes Benz S-Class and GMC Yuko, are approximately the same price as normal comfort.”

Karim said the company sees Dubai as “a door of opportunities into entering the GCC region” and in a year’s time it will evaluate its expansion plans outside the emirate.

Yandex is one of Russia’s biggest technology companies, with its main product being its search engine similar to Google, but Karim pointed out that Yango GCC is run as a separate entity.