In India, Uber and local rival Ola are battling to dominate a growing market for their app-based taxi services. Above, traditional auto rickshaws sit idle in New Delhi as part of a protest by taxi unions against their new competition in July. PHOTO: SUSHIL KUMAR/HINDUSTAN TIMES/GETTY IMAGES

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — Uber is expanding into India for the first time, and has been presented with quite the conundrum: how do you train a million new drivers in a nation where most have never driven a car, let alone used a smartphone or an online app?

The ride-sharing company hopes to get it right this time, so as to not repeat the events its experienced in China, where it decided this year to sell its business to homegrown champion Didi Chuxing Technology.

The $68 billion San Francisco-based company has plenty of cash and the technology to compliment its India expansion. Additionally, India’s government are yet to throw up the sort of regulatory control other regions have hit Uber with during previous expansions. This will facilitate Uber’s quest to find and train new drivers in India, which houses one of the world’s most rapidly developing economies.

Along with other American tech giants such as Amazon, Netflix, Facebook and Apple, Uber is betting big on the South Asian nation, while at the same time trying to manage the challenges of reaching India’s population of more than 1.2 billion.

Uber has about 400,000 drivers on its current platform in India, and is seeking to add an additional one million in the next two years. Mobilizing an army of drivers is important, but that task is made more daunting in a nation where less than 5 percent of households own a car, and even fewer understand English or how to use an app.

Prospective drivers arrive by the hundreds each day at an Uber office in a Delhi strip mall. After their drivers’ licenses and other documents are verified, they’re ushered to a classroom, where they are told, as an Uber driver, they must wear clean clothes — preferably long-sleeved shirts and matching pants — and switch from sandals to shoes, which must be kept on at all times.

They’re trained on how to use the Uber app, most of the drivers who show up for training have only ever dealt in cash transactions, so they have to learn about online banking in order to quickly check if their pay has arrived. Since credit cards aren’t widespread, Uber last year began letting riders pay in cash, a global first. Traditionally some uber drivers would use apps to follow not only their customers’ payments but also use a mileage tracker to keep tabs on how far they have driven while on duty.

Most of the drivers have never even sent an email, but those who can absorb Uber’s crash course often earn 50% more than in their previous jobs. Recruits are warned that if they can’t master the system, they will be weeded out by the company’s five-star rating system. India is second only to the U.S. in the number of trips Uber completes, and makes up about 12% of its rides globally. Its India staff has grown from just a handful a few years ago to some 600 employees, again second only to the U.S.