Uber Technologies Inc., the well-known ride-hailing service provider, believes its strategy to partner with vehicle-rental companies in China can allow it to operate undeterred by the governmental ban of unlicensed private-car hire.
Candice Lo, the project leader for the company’s expansion efforts in greater China said that company drivers and services are still available in nine Chinese cities including the Beijing and Shanghai metropolis’ – they were unaffected by the recent government decision to bring outside the law private cars that embark on unlicensed taxi services via smartphone applications. “We change our business and tweak it for the local markets,” commented Lo. “A lot of how we brand Uber as a business, we do it differently in China.” The San Francisco-based company has been on a worldwide expansion recently and believes China as a crucial new source of revenue.
With a valuation of around $40 billion, the Silicon Valley startup quickly arose at the top of the newly introduce ride-hailing services, but numerous legal challenges and regulatory hurdles began to mount up. Additionally, taxi operators and limousine services around the world embarked in wide protests against such services – deeming them unsafe and as unfair competitors. In China, Uber is also a latecomer, with the market already dominated by Alibaba Group’s Kuaidi Dache and Tencent Holdings’ Didi Taxi. One of the latest moves in the country from Uber was to premiere in Shanghai a service that provided English-speaking drivers for tourists and expatriates who don’t know Chinese and can’t use local taxis or ride-hailing apps.