Vilnius Municipality and global transport networking giant Uber have agreed to a pilot program to allow Uber to operate its car-sharing model in the city. Remigijus Šimašius, Vilnius’ mayor, met yesterday with Uber’s International Launcher, Alexander Lobov. Alongside agreeing to the pilot program, they also discussed ways to support the sharing economy in Lithuania and how best to involve citizens and institutions in its development. They also agreed to collaborate on developing regulatory practices for car-sharing services.
Uber already has a presence in Lithuania, having established a technical office in Vilnius earlier this year, its only office in the Baltic states. Whilst top engineers and programmers in Vilnius have been working to maintain the company’s IT infrastructure, until now they have not been able to use Uber’s services.
[quote text=”We admire the technological progress Lithuania has made, and the success of our Lithuanian engineering team is great proof of this. A country like Lithuania, with a deep talent pool of engineers and a population interested in technologies, is a great place to start or develop a business.” name_surname=”Alexander Lobov” description=”Uber’s International Launcher” left=””]
Mr Lobov was keen to point out that Lithuania offers the right business conditions for innovative companies like Uber, thanks to its excellent tech infrastructure, and especially due to its top IT talent. “We admire the technological progress Lithuania has made, and the success of our Lithuanian engineering team is great proof of this. A country like Lithuania, with a deep talent pool of engineers and a population interested in technologies, is a great place to start or develop a business.” And he is confident Uber’s services will prove popular in Lithuania. “From our point of view, I certainly believe that users and drivers will like Uber. Vilnius is a great city with excellent transport infrastructure.”
The growing interest in Lithuania from a company whose revenue growth has outstripped Google, Apple and Facebook in recent years shows that the Baltic country is increasingly well-connected to the global sharing economy. Uber, which is now valued at more than $50 billion, was founded in 2009 in San Francisco. It currently operates in 300 cities in 58 countries, with millions using the service as an alternative to traditional taxis.
Mr Mantas Katinas, General Manager of the investment promotion agency Invest Lithuania, is confident that Lithuania’s talented young professionals will only benefit from Uber’s presence. “Uber’s increasing activity here is a great signal to potential investors, and serves as yet more evidence to show Lithuania’s dynamism; not only are they bringing their core car-sharing service here, they are also expanding their new engineering centre in Vilnius. Uber is the brightest star in the new global on-demand economy, and their arrival in Lithuania is a great opportunity for local talents to work for one of the most innovative and forward-thinking companies. Moreover, the support Vilnius Municipality has given Uber this week shows that Lithuania is an open market and a great place to pilot and introduce technological innovations.”
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