France is a notable market for the company since capital city Paris was the first non-US location that it expanded into when it launched there in December 2011, just in time for international tech conference LeWeb. For now, Uber is in its self-styled ‘testing phase’ in Lyon, a city just under 500 km south of Paris, which means locals can probably expect a full-on launch within a month or so.
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Lyon’s near-500,000 population can begin booking cars via the Uber apps for iPhone or Android, or its m.uber.com mobile site. An @UberLyon Twitter account is also available to provide customer assistance.
Uber is quietly building its business in Europe’s key cities, having launched in a number of countries, including the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. This year, it has also dipped its toes into Asia after going official in Singapore last month, following a Lyon-like trial period in the city-state. Kalanick previously voiced his intention to be present in all of the continent’s “obvious” cities, and it has already set foot in Australia too.
All that expanding will, of course, require man power, and CEO Travis Kalanick revealed this weekend that Uber is looking to quadruple its staff over the next twelve months.
Kalanick was less cautious to comment on the potential of an IPO, however. Citing the examples of Facebook and Groupon, he told the audience of a panel at SXSW that going public isn’t necessarily the best move for every company.
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