DOHA, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Uber's Middle Eastern business Careem will cease operations in Qatar on Tuesday, the company announced in a message sent to customers in the Gulf Arab state on Monday.
The surprise announcement comes two months after the World Cup in Qatar, when Careem-branded vehicles were part of the tournament's official plans to transport visiting fans, alongside cars from Uber and local taxi provider Karwa.
"Unfortunately, Careem's ride hailing operations will no longer operate in Qatar as of February 28, 2023," said the message, which also informed customers holding Careem credit that the company would issue a full refund by March 15.
Careem's message did not offer any explanation for why it will cease operating. Careem did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.
Careem was bought by Uber Technologies Inc in 2019 for $3.1 billion, giving the U.S. firm market dominance across the Middle East and Pakistan.
Careem only offered ride-hailing services in Qatar, unlike in larger Middle Eastern markets like the United Arab Emirates where the company offered a more robust slate of services on its application, including food delivery, digital payments and courier services.
Uber's smart phone application offers ride-hailing services in Qatar and continued to operate normally late Monday.