Its other businesses like delivery and payments have witnessed "rapid growth," according to CEO Mudassir Sheikha
The ride-hailing sector will see a full recovery some time next year, according to the CEO of Dubai-based Careem, which saw its business drop over 80% as a direct impact of the coronavirus.
Mudassir Sheikha told CNBC the company, which was acquired by Uber for $3.1 billion in 2019, will come out of the crisis as a smaller business, but will expand its services to meet the demands of the "new normal," and as a result will "come out stronger" as a digital platform.
“Unfortunately, the core business of people transport has been impacted significantly, and it is our view that while this business is starting to recover it will probably take until sometime next year for a full recovery to happen, and that business will remain a little bit smaller than what we had built.
“This crisis is, if anything, accelerating the growth of digital platforms. A lot of people who would go out in the offline world and do things are now forced to do things digitally. My mom, for example, had never used an app but has been forced to use an app to get basic things delivered to her. So, fundamentally we believe that we’re in a very strong place to come out as a digital platform to come out stronger," he said.
The ride-hailing industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, which left consumers spending more time indoors as they quarantine and stick to safety and preventative measures like social distancing a state curfew. It led Careem to make substantial layoffs, reducing its workforce by a staggering 31% in May.
However its other businesses like delivery and payments have witnessed "rapid growth," according to Sheikha, encouraging the company to "double down" on plans to venture into various revenue streams.
The Careem app can today be used to order more than just a car, with options like bike rentals, food and item delivery also available, and which users can pay for using the Careem Pay option.