While China has legalized ride-hailing apps, allowing the newly merged Didi Chuxing and Uber China to operate without fear, Taiwan could be going in the opposite direction.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Investment Commission in Taiwan announced that they will make a decision on whether or not to revoke Uber’s operating license on August 11th. Back in 2013, when Uber first entered the market in Taiwan, it registered as an “Information Service” provider, but it is obviously operating a passenger car service, which is not open to foreign companies, FocusTaiwan reports. By providing such a service, Uber is violating the Statute for Investment by Foreign Nationals.
A spokesman from Uber has questioned the validity of this, mentioning the benefits of their service, “Forcing Uber to leave Taiwan would not help the growth of Taiwan’s technology and startup industries, and it is a biased move to protect the benefits of those already holding power.”
The presence of Uber in Taiwan has been protested multiple times, with the most recent protest occurring only 3 weeks ago. Taxi drivers gathered in front of the Legislative Yuan to protest their loss of revenue to this “illegal service.”
On top of all the protests, Uber has been fined a total of 62.27 million NTD (13 million RMB) for recruiting drivers, penalizing drivers and false advertising in Taiwan. Drivers can be fined from 50,000 NTD (10,455 RMB) to 100,000 NTD (20,910 RMB) and have their license suspend for working for Uber, depending on how many times they have been caught.
On Monday, it was announced that Didi and Uber China would merge, following an unprofitable two-year price war. Sina has dubbed Uber’s move as “raising the white flag.” With potentially more troubles to come, this really hasn’t been a great week for Uber.
By Sarah Lin