Uber is the hottest app on the planet. The premium, personal transportation service has recently been valued at $40 billion, and is seen by many users, and taxi drivers, as massively disruptive…which explains way China has decided to ban Uber-like, smartphone apps.
The crackdown appears to have been set in motion following lobbying efforts by Beijing’s established licensed taxi companies, which operate cabs whose prices are capped at below-market rates by the state; adding to Uber’s banned countries list.
Car-hailing apps such as Uber are facing a new year crackdown against “illegal” taxi drivers in Beijing, making the city the latest in a long line of trouble spots for the San Francisco-based start-up that has sought to disrupt city transport worldwide.
Liang Jiangwei, director of Beijing’s traffic enforcement unit, said in a statement to the Financial Times on Wednesday that the use of unlicensed taxis by internet hailing apps violated a ban on illegal taxis. He said a crackdown began on January 1, and drivers face fines of up to Rmb20,000 ($3,221).
“Some of these vehicles are ‘taxi clones’,” he said. “Many passengers have filed complaints.”
According to the Beijing Youth Daily, a state-run paper: “This is the first time that Beijing has publicly affirmed that private cars operating via taxi apps is considered an act of illegal operation”.
Uber operates both premium car service Uber Black and newly launched Peoples’ Uber, which is priced to compete with regular taxis in Beijing. The company said they were looking into the matter and planned to issue a statement.