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Wed 2 Nov 2016 01:58 PM

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Careem says planning to expand into more Saudi cities

Ride-hailing service signs agreement with Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage to operate in six more cities

Careem says planning to expand into more Saudi cities

Dubai-based ride-hailing service Careem has announced plans to expand its services to six more cities in Saudi Arabia after signing a new deal with the country's tourism authority.

Careem said in a statement that it has grown to operate in 22 cities in the Gulf kingdom, including Abha, Ahad Rufaidah, Al-Hofuf, Al-Kharj, Al Mubarraz, Ar Rass, Buraydah, Dammam, Dhahran, Diriyah, Unaizah, Jeddah, Jizan, Jubail, Khamis Mushait, Khobar, Makkah, Madinah, Qatif, Riyadh, Ta’if and Yanbu.

In a new partnership with the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage, Careem said it envisages expansion to at least six more cities by the end of the year.

Abdulla Elyas, co-founder and managing director, Careem Saudi Arabia said: “Careem’s mission is to make people’s lives simpler by providing a variety of transportation solutions and that is exactly what we’ve focused on doing in Saudi Arabia for the past two years.

"We’ve built a strong brand and customer base since our launch because we’ve always kept the Saudi users’ best interests first, paying attention to their needs and those of our beloved captains.”

In May, Careem became one of the first car hailing companies in Saudi Arabia to be awarded a licence to operate by the Ministry of Transport.

“We look forward to continuously working with the Saudi government and growing together in harmony, to better the transportation infrastructure in the region,” added Dr. Abdulla Elyas.

Careen said in September that it is targeting profitability next year or in 2018 and is in talks with potential investors about its latest fundraising plans.

The company, which has a larger market share than rival Uber in most of the 32 cities in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan region in which it operates, aims to expand in new markets including Oman and a number of North African countries.

Launched in Dubai in 2012 by Sheikha and fellow McKinsey & Co alumni Magnus Olsson, Careem has a fleet of 90,000-plus drivers and more than four million users registered through its mobile app but has yet to make a profit.

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