Hailing a ride of success with Islam Abdul Karim of Yango

Abha Garyali Peer |

Yango, a tech platform, specializes in transformation of global technologies for local enrichment. By reshaping them into seamlessly integrated daily services, the brand connects world innovations with local communities to enhance daily experiences. Starting as a ride-hail service, the brand is growing at a tremendous pace, scaling and launching more services, and engaging with an increasingly larger number of audiences and markets.

In an exclusive Interview with Adgully Middle East, Islam Abdul Karim, General Manager, Yango GCC, talks about Yango’s success as a ride-hail service, how the brand has grown tremendously in a year, and much more. Karim also shares Yango's partnership with Coca-Cola Arena, and its participation in the recent Gitex 2023.

How has Yango adapted its ride-hailing service to meet the unique needs and preferences of customers in the UAE?

To cater to the needs and preferences of UAE customers, Yango has tapped into the region's demographic shift, particularly with 60% of the population being under 25. Recognizing the appeal of ride-hailing services for younger audiences, Yango provides on-demand high-quality options at a good value for money that resonates with millennials and Gen Z, especially amidst changing petrol prices and a heightened focus on environmental concerns. Moreover, with services like the Kids class, Yango provides safe and specialized travel experiences for families, utilizing spacious cars available in Dubai such as the GMC, further attesting to our commitment to regional customization.

Since transportation holds a substantial 24% share of global carbon emissions, Yango is also proactive in addressing sustainability goals, integrating EVs into their fleet in alignment with the UAE's vision for net-zero emissions by 2050. At the moment approximately 15% of our partners’ fleet is electric. This not only minimizes carbon emissions but also caters to the rising demand for eco-friendly transit solutions.

Can you discuss any partnerships or collaborations Yango has entered into the region to enhance its service offerings?

Yango is the official ride-hailing partner of Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena. We provide premium ride experiences for concert and event attendees. Yango app users receive a 20% discount on their first ride to or from the arena, ensuring a convenient and memorable experience.

We also recently participated in GITEX 2023, where our primary focus was to highlight successful growth of ride-hailing service in the UAE and our further plans to expand within the country. Along with this we also announced the new global operations office in Dubai Internet City for the Yango company, including but not limited to Yango ride-hailing, Yango Delivery and Yango Tech services. It will open this year.

What challenges has Yango faced in establishing its brand and operations in the UAE, and how have you overcome them?

One challenge in the UAE has been the prevailing trend towards private car ownership. However, projections show a significant rise in ride-hailing users, expected to reach 3.25 million by 2027. With our unique features, we've been able to offer a more convenient, economical and sustainable solution.

How does Yango ensure the safety of both drivers and passengers, especially in the context of this region?

The UAE gives great importance to road safety, and Dubai’s Road & Transport Authority regularly updates traffic laws to be stricter. In line with the country’s vision for safe roads, we have various safety features in the app including reckless driving technology and Safety Center in the app where passengers can access the SOS button, share their route with friends and relatives, or contact the urgent team which is available 24/7. Additionally, we plan to introduce in Dubai new safety technologies like the speed monitoring and driving style monitoring system to enhance safety further. These advancements prioritize the safety, comfort, and overall experience of everyone who uses Yango.

Are there any upcoming features or services that Yango plans to introduce specifically for the Middle East market, like the recent one as Kids Service Class?

Yango, as a technology company, is continuously innovating and introducing new services and products tailored specifically for the region’s market. One of the most exciting is Yasmina, an advanced Arabic-speaking human-like AI smart assistant. This digital companion goes beyond basic functions to transform the user experience with tailored, intuitive support for the region. Yasmina's human-like conversational skills are powered by a proprietary language model fine-tuned with input from content professionals in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, and more, ensuring various dialect recognition.

Sustainability is another area we're passionate about, especially given the UAE's ambitious vision. We're actively investing in enhancing systems that leverage the power of data analytics, AI, and Machine Learning to ensure optimal routing and reduce carbon emissions. The demand for EVs in the UAE is also on the rise, anticipated to increase by a CAGR of 30% leading up to 2028. We're exploring opportunities to integrate more EVs into our partner’s fleet aligning with the UAE's target to cut 40% of carbon emissions by 2030.

Our presence in the region is expanding, with a new dedicated office space in Dubai Internet City slated to open by the end of 2023. This is part of our larger growth strategy, which also includes expansions in the UAE and even beyond the region, like Ethiopia.

How does Yango ride-hailing service differentiate itself from other platforms operating in the region?

Yango is a tech company dedicated to adapting global innovations into everyday services that enrich local communities. Operational in more than 20 countries, we have vast experience in transformation of technologies into daily services around the world and have tailored our services to the UAE market.

As for our ride-hailing service, Yango stands out from others in the region through a combination of innovations and targeted service offerings at a good value for money. Our features, such as user-friendly apps, safety technologies integrated within the service, and partnership with Coca-Cola Arena, specifically address the challenges of the UAE clientele. We understand that we are not just providing a ride, but a tailored experience. This ensures we always stay ahead in providing unparalleled service.

Can you share some stats or success stories that highlight Yango's growth in the UAE?

We celebrated the one-year-anniversary of our operations in Dubai this September. We continue to experience 20% week-to-week growth at high season there and will expand to other emirates within the upcoming months.

What is Yango's long-term vision for its operations in the Middle East, and how do you plan to achieve it?

Vision of Yango ride-hailing service is to be at the forefront of smart urban mobility in the market and support urban connectivity goals. Our strategies include integrating state-of-the-art technologies, ensuring the high standards of safety, and exploring opportunities like incorporating electric vehicles (EVs), for example.