The Chinese city of Guangzhou may have banned Uber, but that hasn’t stopped its municipal government setting up its own, strikingly similar, online taxi company. The new company will be named Ruyue, which means “by appointment”.
Uber was shut down in the city a matter of weeks ago, after authorities raided its offices, murmuring about a lack of the requisite papers.
There has been no statement from the Guangzhou government as to whether the closing down of Uber was linked to the launch of the new service, but the closeness of the two events could be interpreted as suggestive.
Investors may see it as hostility towards innovation, and, potentially, as the government’s willingness to stifle competition where it’s deemed beneficial. The Chinese government is active in business, and can be undermined by more efficient and innovative private ventures, especially in the transport sector.
China’s laws against unlicensed taxis are strict however, which makes life difficult for companies such as Uber.