Taiwan's Investment Commission is set to order Uber Technologies Inc. to exit the domestic market, saying the global ride-hailing giant misrepresented its business as an internet-based information technology platform rather than a transportation service. Kirsty Basset reports.
Uber arrived in Taiwan in 2013. It's popular with customers and gives drivers an opportunity to earn money on the side. A reported plan to ban it then is a blow to some. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 24-YEAR-OLD PART-TIME UBER DRIVER, LUKE LAI, SAYING: "For me, I feel very surprised. Because, to be honest, Taiwan's government should focus on improving the quality of taxi services not just terminate Uber's investment activities in Taiwan. As an entrepreneur myself, I think it's unreasonable." But Taiwan's union-backed taxi drivers have had enough of what they call "unfair competition". And the country's Investment Commission has ruled the U.S. firm misrepresented its business as a technology platform instead of a transport service. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 39-YEAR-OLD TAXI DRIVER, MR. FU, SAYING: "Uber drivers don't need to take an exam or get a commercial license and their prices are lower. So for fairness we hope the government ends their service as soon as possible." Taiwan's just the latest in a string of countries dealing with the threat from Uber. And the government wants the firm to work with local taxi companies. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) UBER CUSTOMER, ZOEY SU, SAYING: "Uber drivers own their own cars so they're cleaner and better and more reliable. I have experienced official taxi drivers picking their noses and eating nuts and there's always an odour." Bad smell or not - the problem isn't one to be sniffed at. A final decision on Uber's future in Taiwan is due next week.