Uber is "pressing pause" on Taiwan business after government pressure

Rebecca Smith
Uber said the decision was not taken lightly as it impacted on both drivers and riders
Uber said the decision was not taken lightly as it impacted on both drivers and riders (Source: Getty)

Things are heating up in Taiwan.

Uber has suspended its services there over an ongoing rift with the government, which deems the ride-hailing app illegal.

In a blog post on the company's site, Uber said it was "pressing pause in Taiwan" after reaching an "impasse", saying the government sought to move "further and further away from embracing innovation".

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The firm said its drivers faced "greater penalties than ever" and as a result it would be grinding services to a halt from Friday 10 February.

It comes months after Uber put the brakes on its ride-hailing services in mainland China, after a rivalry with Didi Chuxing, which resulted in the latter acquiring Uber's Chinese services, with Uber getting a stake in Didi.

Uber had been facing pressure over its legitimacy in Taiwan for a while and tensions escalated at the end of last year.

Read more: Uber has agreed a $20m settlement over "driver deception"

The Legislative Yuan finalised an amendment bill in December that hiked the maximum fine for illegal passenger transportation services to up to 25m new Taiwan dollars (£614,000) from between NT$50,000 and NT$150,000.

There has been contention over Uber's registration in Taiwan - it operates as an internet-based tech platform, as opposed to a transportation company.

Uber had previously implored the island's President Tsai Ing-wen to let the people decide whether they want its services and in its new blog post said: "We hope that pressing pause will reset the conversation and inspire President Tsai to take action."

The company first launched in Taiwan four years ago and has since completed 15m journeys. It said it has "tens of thousands" of drivers there.

Uber said it was trying to resolve the dispute, by securing a local insurance policy and initiating efforts to work with the taxi industry, as well as proposing ride-sharing regulations similar to those implemented overseas.

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