BENGALURU — India's Ola has hired MSL to handle PR duties amid fierce competition with Uber for leadership of the country's $10bn ride-hailing industry.

MSL replaces Adfactors as Ola's PR agency following a competitive review that featured several contenders. The brief is a wide-ranging affair that involves corporate reputation management, brand and product communications strategy and outreach programmes. 

Since launching in 2010, Ola has grown to become India's largest homegrown ride-hailing player, and the only serious rival to Uber, which entered the market in 2013. Ola, backed by Japan's Softbank, has stepped up efforts recently to improve its valuation and performance.

MSL has previously worked for Uber in several markets including India, where its relationship with the US company ended earlier this year.

"The Ola brand is naturally aligned to India’s development by deeply impacting lives of millions of customers across the length and breadth of the country as well as livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of driver partners," said Anand Subramanian, Ola's senior director of marketing communications.

"We want to take the Ola mobility movement to the next phase and help make it central to the life of all Indians across the length and breadth of the country," added MSL India CEO Amit Misra. "Ola’s contributions add into nation development in every way and we believe that communicating this impact can help add to their mission of building mobility for every Indian."