Uber hires govt-accredited drivers in Myanmar
YANGON: Uber Technologies Inc is only hiring governmentaccredited taxi drivers in Myanmar, said a regional executive, a move that will allow it to avoid the legal hurdles that have dogged the firm across Asia in one of the region’s last frontier markets.
This partnership with local taxi drivers and their unions was unique to Myanmar, said Sam Bool, Uber’s expansion general manager for Southeast Asia, as services began yesterday in the small but potentially lucrative market where Southeast Asian rival Grab and local service providers are going strong.
“Having the government support from day one was pretty powerful,” said Bool. “Drivers know we are fully compliant with existing regulations. That does grease the wheels.”
Uber, which in many parts of the world signs on anyone with a car as a driver, appears to be following Grab’s operating model in Myanmar, a country of more than 50 million people emerging from decades of military rule.
During its March launch, here, Grab said it was working with a small group of taxi drivers and would increase its scale gradually.
Uber has long had a reputation as an aggressive and unapologetic startup. The San Franciscobased firm is in conflict with the taxi industry all over the world, and its services have been halted in several countries over a raft of regulatory concerns.
While Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s biggest ride services market, the growth in Myanmar’s mobile services market is too good to ignore.
Competition is strong: in addition to Grab, there are at least two ride-hailing start-ups — Hello Cabs and Oway Ride. Reuters
Uber began its services in Myanmar, yesterday, where rival Grab and other local service providers are already going strong.