By Staff writer
“We’re not the Uber of the Middle East", says company spokesman
Careem is not the Uber of the Middle East, but is a ride-hailing app built for the region by people from the region, said a senior company spokesman.
“Careem faces one comparison time and time again: we are, by many accounts, the Uber of the Middle East,” said Christian Eid, the vice president of marketing and communications.
“But what does this mean?”
Careem and Uber offer similar services helping people to get around more easily, but there are crucial differences according to Eid.
Uber wants to “make transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere, for everyone,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told Arabian Business in an exclusive interview last month during the Government Summit in Dubai.
“While some might consider us to be fierce rivals, let’s be clear - we salute their ambition and we could not agree more with the importance of achieving their vision,” Eid said. “But Careem has a very different goal that is badly needed in our region.
“I’m an Arab. I grew up in Saudi, went to a great school and had every opportunity to succeed in the Middle East. Instead, I spent my days dreaming of Western heroes.
“I’m not just talking about Batman and Superman; I idolised the tech superheroes of our time - Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. I admired brands like Nike, Adidas, IBM, Microsoft, Ferrari, Coca-Cola and Disney.
“I dreamt of building something innovative and achieving something that had impact. I never thought I’d be able to do it here, in the Middle East. Nobody seemed to be making it here.”
So, Eid went to build his career in North America – “the land of opportunity,” he said.
“I didn’t realise back then that the Middle East is the place to make it. The bright lights of the American dream are fading. The voice of Dubai, the ultimate city brand, is stronger than ever. Dubai, and the region, will be the next leading global start-up hub. This is the place to make a difference.”
Careem, Eid said, is actually making this happen.
“Our region is no stranger to progression, nor innovation. But how do you keep moving forward if your brightest people are tempted to build value somewhere else? How do you get people to believe they can excel here?”
Eid said that the answer is in building an institution that inspires local talent.
“If we create an institution here, then the next young boy or girl like me can start dreaming of local superheroes and coveting local brands. Local pride is rocket fuel for homegrown success.”
“We’re not the Uber of the Middle East because our compasses are pointed towards two different ends of the rainbow.
“Careem just happened to take on the region’s challenging mobility problems because it was the first way they could see to meaningfully impact people’s lives.
“On top of that, we’re successfully bringing local talent that moved away, back to the region. We’re working collaboratively with governments, we’re growing a platform for our captain micropreneurs and helping ignite a start-up ecosystem that inspires.”For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Any further comment on the unscrupulous 3AED RTA surcharge?
I keep reading about denials from Careem being an Uber-clone - which are quite silly in my opinion. The fact is that the founders of Careem took the idea (inspiration?) from Uber and did an excellent job of executing it in this region - way better than Uber! Where's the shame in that? Own up, and move forward!
That's all well and good, but neither of the two founders in the UAE are Arabs (there's a third founder, in Saudi). Come up with a good narrative by all accounts, but make it fit the facts.
has anyone ever, ever, had the estimated charge pre-ride be anything less than double the real end price?
Completely agree hence I have stopped using the service, also have had several instances of the driver refusing to accept the promo code. Sorry guys better luck next time...
I've used their service in multiple countries - and while it does happen, I've seen the actual fare to be less than the estimate as well. Mostly the estimate has been off by AED +/- 10 AED.
What is probably more alarming is how they sometimes round up the final amount even when you're paying via a credit card. While not significant for individuals, but I'm sure they get a decent amount across their huge network with this approach.
i am more concerned about the unscrupulous AED 20 charge for choosing the "ride later" booking option. total robbery.
Well they are very American in one respect and that is the inane waffling about rainbows and superheroes. Please, you took an establish concept and executed it well. I'm a big fan of Careem - in my experience rapid service, clean cars, courteous and knowledgeable drivers and the chance to provide instant feedback. A huge improvement over booking a taxi and hoping it turns up sometime in the next hour, taking pot luck on the state of the car's interior, the driver's mood and his driving skills. It's more expensive because it's a superior service. Treat the drivers well - a lesson Uber are currently learning - and this will continue to be a success.