NO SMOOTH RIDE FOR UBER IN CHINA

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

mak­ing nearly 1 mil­lion trips daily in China. Kalan­ick also men­tioned in the same let­ter that the com­pany plans to ex­pand into 50 more Chi­nese cities within the next year. Ac­cord­ing to Chi­nese busi­ness mag­a­zine Caixin, Uber is ex­pected to raise sev­eral bil­lion dol­lars in its cur­rent fund-rais­ing cam­paign in China.

While Uber may be ag­gres­sively ex­pand­ing in China, a re­cent sur­vey by in­ter­net re­search in­sti­tu­tion CNIT shows that the US com­pany com­mands only 11.5 per­cent of the mar­ket share. Didi Kuaidi, Uber’s big­gest ri­val in China, is the leader with 80.2 per­cent. It is made up of two taxi-hail­ing firms, Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache.

Jiang no longer drives for Uber. The 23-year-old quit about a month ago when she re­al­ized that the cur­rent sub­si­dies aren’t enough to cover her fuel and main­te­nance ex­penses for her Audi Q5. She has since switched to Didi Kuaidi, say­ing she prefers the Chi­nese rideshar­ing apps be­cause they al­low her to de­cide whether to pick up a pas­sen­ger based on her cur­rent des­ti­na­tion. Didi Kuaidi also doles out at­trac­tive bonuses and sub­si­dies, she added.

Another chal­lenge for rideshar­ing ser­vices such as Peo­ple’s Uber and Didi Kuaidi is their le­gal­ity. In the eyes of the author­i­ties, pri­vate car own­ers are break­ing the law if they earn in­come from of­fer­ing trans­porta­tion ser­vices with­out a taxi li­cense.

Like­wise, the Min­istry of Trans­port in China has not given the nod to such pri­vate car ser­vices. Since Novem­ber 2014, Shang­hai author­i­ties have in­ves­ti­gated more than 180 pri­vate car own­ers for us­ing car-shar­ing apps to shut­tle pas­sen­gers. Uber’s Guangzhou and Chengdu of­fices were also in­ves­ti­gated by Chi­nese author­i­ties in May, though the app has yet to be of­fi­cially banned in China.

Shang­hai po­lice launched another clam­p­down on rideshar­ing apps across the city on the night of July 17. Fif­teen driv­ers were un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for run­ning illegal car ser­vices us­ing online apps.

Ac­cord­ing to lo­cal web­site thepaper.cn, these driv­ers will be fined up to 10,000 yuan and have their driv­ing li­censes sus­pended for three to six months if they are found guilty. The com­pa­nies of these rideshar­ing apps will also be fined 100,000 yuan each.

“New things and new tech­nol­ogy tend to be ques­tioned in the be­gin­ning. But as time passes by, the ques­tions will be gone,” said Yin, adding that Uber also runs other ser­vices — UberBlack, UberXL, UberX — with le­git­i­mate lo­cal car rental com­pa­nies.

In what could be a fur­ther blow to Uber’s am­bi­tions in China, Shang­hai’s trans­port depart­ment on June 1 launched a taxi in­for­ma­tion plat­form in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Didi Kuaidi’s taxi-hail­ing ser­vice. This is the first of­fi­cial col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween a ride-shar­ing com­pany and author­i­ties in China, and ac­cord­ing to the depart­ment’s web­site, fur­ther col­lab­o­ra­tion on ride-shar­ing ser­vices may fol­low.

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