Ride-hailing service app Careem ceases operations in Qatar

The announcement came in the form of an email sent to customers in Qatar on Monday.

Careem app
Careem ride-hailing services in Qatar in addition to delivering grocery and food [File: Satish Kumar/Reuters]

Ride-hailing service application Careem has ceased operations in Qatar just two months after the FIFA World Cup in the country wherein its branded vehicles were part of the football tournament’s official plans to transport visiting fans alongside Uber and local taxi and bus service provider Karwa.

The announcement came in the form of an email sent to customers in Qatar on Monday. The email did not state the reasons behind its closure.

“It’s been a pleasure to help simplify your day. Unfortunately, Careem’s ride-hailing operations will no longer operate in Qatar as of February 28, 2023,” read the email sent out by the company.

Al Jazeera has reached out to Careem officials for a comment.

In addition to ride-hailing services in Qatar, Careem also offered grocery and food delivery services. It also ran a range of services on its application, including digital payments and courier services across other locations it served.

The Dubai-based company was launched in the region in 2012, three years before Uber.

In 2019, Uber announced it was taking over Careem for $3.1bn, giving the US firm market dominance across the Middle East and Pakistan.

However, an Uber official told Al Jazeera that regulatory approvals for the acquisition were not granted in Qatar, and so the sale of Careem’s Qatari business had not closed.

“Uber operations continue business as usual [in Qatar after Careem’s announcement’,” Uber’s MENA Communications Manager Norhen Ali told Al Jazeera.

“Uber sought regulatory clearance from certain local competition authorities, including in Qatar, to acquire Careem in 2019. While regulatory approvals in other countries were obtained, unfortunately, this did not happen in Qatar.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies