Interview: Islam Abdul Karim, general manager, Yango GCC
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Interview: Islam Abdul Karim, general manager, Yango GCC

Interview: Islam Abdul Karim, general manager, Yango GCC

Yango is an international ride-hailing service, operating in more than 20 countries worldwide

Divsha Bhat

Ride-hailing services in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have boomed in recent years. Where does the market stand now?
Ride-hailing services are indeed developing actively and will continue to grow. The revenue in this segment of the GCC region is projected to reach a market volume of $3.55bn in 2023 and is expected to grow to $3.92bn by 2027, with an average annual growth of 2.51 per cent, according to Statista Market Forecast, and 17.4 million anticipated users.

Though new players are entering and investing in these countries, it is important to note that markets in the region are still very different in terms of, among others, legislation and level of service. The UAE has continuously been at the forefront of adopting new innovations, especially in consumer-focused tech. For example, and just a decade ago, there were only a handful of ride-hailing apps. Today, the number of such services has increased, but at the same time, we see higher demand for great service at reasonable prices.

Tell us about Yango. Explain your business model.
Yango is an international ride-hailing service that gets people where they want to go quickly and conveniently for a reasonable price. Our service is built based on our own technology, and is operating in more than 20 countries worldwide.

As for the business model, Yango doesn’t operate its own cars or drivers but instead facilitates local transportation providers to use its services. They, in return, cooperate with drivers. Since our launch in Dubai just five months ago, we have already partnered with 15 prominent local companies.

We offer a choice between two different service classes for our Dubai customers: the Business service class, which offers premium cars, such as the Lexus ES or Tesla Model 3, and the Premier service class, which features luxury cars, such as the GMC Yukon or BMW 7 Series.

Our average week-on-week growth in the number of rides is about over 20 per cent per week — and we are just getting started. Our team continues to work hard to improve our services. For example, the average estimated time of arrival of a ride hailed on Yango in Dubai is only five minutes.


What was the idea behind launching the service in Dubai? Do you see this as one of your key markets?
The Dubai market is vital for us, as there is great demand for comfortable, high-tech ride-hailing services. The high service standards, attention to detail, and smart technologies that Yango brings to customers can really make a big change.

With sustainability taking centre stage, how are you promoting environmentally friendly practices in the region?
Our app uses its own technologies, such as maps, navigation, and smart order distribution. All these can help reduce the net cost of the ride and the time a driver spends looking for a customer, ensure the efficient use of drivers’ time, and provide a predictable and affordable service to riders. This combination shortens the time drivers spend looking for passengers, picking them up, and dropping them off. As a result, our technologies help decrease traffic congestion and fuel consumption.

However, we realise sustainability is not only environmental. We are investing heavily in sustainable safety through innovations that also include remote monitoring of speed and driving. If a driver taking you home starts making dangerous manoeuvres during the ride, the system will automatically notify the driver’s app. If the situation doesn’t change after several notifications, the algorithm restricts the driver’s access to Yango; the technology helps warn drivers who partner with the service about possible accidents. These technologies have already been rolled out in several markets, compelling drivers to conduct their vehicles safely and carefully. We’re considering introducing them in Dubai in the near future.

Are you planning to enter more markets in the GCC this year? What are your other plans for the year?
Currently, our focus is on Dubai. We just introduced our loyalty programme here called Yango Plus, which grants users in the UAE up to 10 per cent back from each ride in cashback points by default — no subscription fee needed. One Plus point is equivalent to Dh1. These points can be spent to pay for up to 100 per cent of the next ride, so you can cover the full price.

How is your service different from the rest?
Beyond competitive prices, one of the main differences is the app’s underlying proprietary technologies, including mapping, a navigation system, and smart algorithms. Unlike most of the players in this market, who acquire such technology from vendors, we develop ours in-house, which allows us to adjust the service quicker and be more cost-effective. In addition, and largely due to this approach, our app is packed with unique, convenient features for drivers and passengers. For example, users can request several cars on a single phone and book a ride with multiple destinations.

Yango offers premium cars, great service, a convenient app built in-house, and lots of amenities in our premium rides, such as dates, bottled water and mobile chargers.

How do you see the future of ride-hailing in the region? Do you think more players will enter the market?
We believe new players will be entering the GCC market because it is steadily becoming one of the most exciting markets for new mobility solutions, and that’s good. Competition is healthy and continuously results in a positive impact on overall service quality and conditions for riders and drivers.

Read: Yango Delivery launches in UAE to boost e-commerce sector

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