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India's Biggest Ride-Hailing Firm Sets Up Shop In Uber's Backyard With San Francisco Hub

SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) - India's biggest ride-hailing firm is setting up shop in Uber's backyard.

Ola said Thursday it will build a new advanced technology center in San Francisco that will employ more than 150 engineers. The new tech hub will focus on developing "next-generation technologies in mobility" including electric, connected and autonomous vehicles, it added.

The Bangalore-based ride-hailing company did not say when the center will be completed, but a spokesperson said it has already started hiring engineers in the Bay Area specializing in fields such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Ola dominates India's vast market, with operations in more than 125 cities compared to 35 for Uber, and it has expanded to countries including Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The investment in Silicon Valley marks Ola's first foray into the United States. The company declined to comment on plans to bring its ride-hailing platform to the American market.

The technology center is "a big step in our journey as a global mobility player, with a mission that talent from around the world are inspired to join us on," Ola co-founder and chief technology officer Ankit Bhati said in a statement.

Ola, which is backed by big investors such as Japan's SoftBank and Chinese tech giant Tencent, currently operates in more than 150 cities around the world, more than 100 of which are in India.

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