Well, Uber is back. It has been quite long since the app-based taxi service got into any regulatory troubles (though it has been just 4 days, but in Uber’s timeline, that’s a pretttttyyy long time ) and hence, here it is. And what’s worse this time is that Uber faces legal hurdles due to its business model in the most Anti-US (as far as tech companies are concerned) territory as of now, China.
As per a report in Reuters, Chinese and Taiwanese authorities have raised questions over Uber’s business model, and specifically on its process of hiring drivers. More so, it comes in less than a week after Baidu made a $600 Million ‘strategic investment’ into the ride-hailing service to help it operate in the Chinese markets. Well, that is certainly not happening.
In China, the Government of Chongqing is investigating on the legality of Uber’s private drivers. As per laws, private drivers running cabs without a license, are subjected to be termed as “illegal” and may have to pay fines to the tune of 10,000 Yuan ($4,826).
As for Taiwan, the transport ministry has added a whole new angle to Uber’s legal troubles. As per the ministry, while Uber is ‘licensed to provide information’, it is ‘not licensed to provide transport’. That’s a first among all the allegations which Uber has faced till date. Not only this, the ministry is looking to block Uber’s website and apps, and is looking further whether it has the authority and resources to do so
Ministry of Transportation and Communications Deputy Director Liang Guo Guo said on Monday,
If Uber obtains the proper license it can continue operating in Taiwan. The company has not made clear how it plans to proceed.
Uber was recently booked in Thailand and Nevada for similar reasons, as Uber’s unique but yet-unknown matchmaking process between the driver and passenger doesn’t find mention in any of the existing laws within the countries it operates in. And due to absence of laws for such app-based services, Uber gets caught, rather quite easily under the existing transportation laws.
We’ve contacted Uber for comments and will update you once we receive a statement.
We’ve now received a statement from Uber on China and Taiwan. Here’s what the company has to say :
We are actively communicating and seeking clarification with Chongqing government. Uber remains dedicated to serving the local transportation needs in Chongqing, and making contributions to smart transportation development through our leading technology.
Tens of thousands of riders rely on the Uber platform for a reliable, safe and convenient way of moving around the city, while driver-partners depend on this economic opportunity to better their livelihoods. We are disappointed with the MOTC’s statement against Uber today and are following all legal due processes with regards to the appeals. We have had many constructive conversations with the local authorities and hope to continue those engagements.