#Asia Taiwan moves to boot out Uber and UberEATS


Some vagaries, such as what people do if they’ve already downloaded the app, may mean Uber has a chance in Taiwan


Uber has taken another hit in the Asia-Pacific market. Citing Uber for failing to comply with local laws, Taiwanese regulators say that Google and Apple will need to remove both Uber and UberEATS from their Taiwan app stores if no agreement can be reached.

In Taiwan, taxi companies must be domestically owned and operated; information services providers do not have that limitation. Uber argues that it is a platform for information services connecting drivers and passengers, so this should not apply to it.

This is a further step against Uber in its larger global fight to retain its technology company status instead of being designated a taxi service.

Uber for its part says it is complying with the regulators and hopes to reach a compromise, but it is still not licensed to carry passengers or cargo. The investment permit that lets it operate in Taiwan has not been removed, but may very well be revoked at this rate.

The Taiwanese government will have a time of it if it goes through with the measure, since, as Reuters notes, it is unclear what would happen with other downloading options, or if it would impact people who’ve already downloaded the app.

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UberEATS drivers are already facing big problems, though: They are subject to individual fines of $80 per ticketing offense and 2-6 month license suspensions.

Uber “has said it would continue negotiations with the government, adding that for anyone facing a fine, it would work with the partner restaurants in question to help cover the cost,” reports China Post. The total cost of the fines issued to date stand at over $18,000. Uber itself faces fines worth $2.35 million from Taiwanese regulators.

This comes not even a day after UberEATS’s launch in Taiwan, its sixteenth national market and fifth in Asia-Pacific after Australia, Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong.

Legal pushback

UberEATS has big plans for Taiwan, having already signed up a hundred local partners, many of them high-end. It is still in the process of hiring local personnel in Taipei, based on a number of job notices listed for that location.

At present, however, any drivers caught using the service would be considered illegal taxi operators under Taiwanese law.

UberEATS faces a struggle in the Asia-Pacific market because, as many online grocers are finding, there are a lot of similar indigenous services available. And government opposition is also a persistent issue, Taiwan’s just being the latest.

Across the strait, on the Mainland, the situation is even tougher. Though it is expanding in Hong Kong, Uber failed to gain a toehold in Macau, which, like Hong Kong, is governed under a distinct system from that of the mainland. (Macau, like Taiwan, went after the operator with heavy fines.)

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In the People’s Republic of China, Didi Chuxing acquired its operations and has totally revamped the ride-hailing service from its Uber origins, from modifying compatibility settings to removing English-language interfaces.

Though the deal has the legal grounds to go through, regulators there have brought an anti-trust investigation forward to review the deal.

That move, like others in Taiwan, the US, and UK of late, is meant to bring the company, and the “gig economy” in general, under greater regulatory oversight.

The article Taiwan moves to boot out Uber and UberEATS first appeared on Geektime.

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