Uber faces ban for op­er­at­ing “il­le­gal” ser­vice

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

Ride-hail­ing ser­vice Uber could be banned in Tai­wan af­ter au­thor­i­ties ac­cused it of op­er­at­ing il­le­gally, with of­fi­cials say­ing a fi­nal de­ci­sion will be handed down next week.

It is the lat­est set­back for the US com­pany, af­ter it was forced to sus­pend its oper­a­tions in Hun­gary last month and was fined in June for op­er­at­ing il­le­gally in France.

Uber en­tered the Tai­wan mar­ket in 2013 and the com­pany and driv­ers to­gether have al­ready been fined a to­tal of T$65 mil­lion (US$2.05 mil­lion), ac­cord­ing to the trans­port min­istry.

An­gry cab driv­ers sur­rounded the par­lia­ment in Taipei last month, de­mand­ing the gov­ern­ment kick Uber out, echo­ing sim­i­lar protests in sev­eral other coun­tries.

Au­thor­i­ties say Uber does not have the proper reg­is­tra­tion to op­er­ate as a taxi ser­vice.

“They [Uber] are reg­is­tered as an in­for­ma­tion ser­vices provider, but what they’re do­ing is ac­tu­ally trans­porta­tion,” said Lin Kuo-hsien, a min­istry spokesper­son.

That leaves con­sumers un­pro­tected, Mr Lin said, adding that some Uber driv­ers have al­ready had their in­di­vid­ual li­cences sus­pended and are sub­ject to fines of T$50,000.

Tai­wan’s in­vest­ment com­mis­sion, which screens and ap­proves for­eign and out­ward in­vest­ments, said it would de­cide on Uber’s case by Aug 11.

“From a pre­lim­i­nary as­sess­ment, it is pos­si­ble” Uber will be banned, Emile Chang, ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary of the com­mis­sion, told AFP. The US start-up has ex­panded to more than 50 coun­tries and is worth some $50 bil­lion, but has faced mul­ti­ple le­gal chal­lenges and protests from taxi driv­ers who feel they are be­ing forced out of the mar­ket. –

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