Taiwan Tells Uber to End Operations

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Update: The Executive Yuan has said that it has delayed the Ministry of Economy’s demand that Uber exit Taiwan. According to CNA, the Transportation Ministry will seek to amend the laws to allow Uber to remain in Taiwan and operate legally. The laws are expected to be changed and implemented by next year.

After facing more than NT$65 million in fines over the years, Uber has been told to shut down its operations in Taiwan, Apple Daily reported. In its latest round of attacks on the popular ride-hailing app, the Ministry of Economy yesterday ordered Uber to end its operations next week.

The order was met with approval from the taxi drivers who have been fighting the company’s lower fares. Taxi organizations in Taiwan accused Uber of unfair business practices that threatened their livelihood.

The Ministry of Economy said that Uber was registered in Taiwan with an investment of NT$100 million as an IT services sector company in July 2013, for which it holds a business license. However, the company does not have a license to operate a transportation business. As the company hires drivers, the ministry says that Uber holds an invalid business license.

The Department of Taxation said it will also investigate taxes paid by Uber since it was registered in Taiwan. This may force drivers to report the money earned from Uber as the company currently does not disclose how many drivers it employs.

Despite repeated orders and fines, Uber continued to operate illegally. It recently lowered fares to attract more customers, but was met with the threat of a strike by drivers who saw the fare cuts as unfair.

In an effort to avoid being locked out of China entirely, Uber recently agreed to merge with local rival Didi Chuxing, the combined company is valued at US$35 billion. Didi, jointly owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., was founded last year from the merger between Didi and Kuaidi. Didi also recently received a US$1 billion investment from Apple.

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