Regulators slammed yet another door on Uber on Monday as as authorities in Seoul, South Korea, announced plans to seek a ban on the car sharing service. The Financial Times reports:
Seoul’s city government has launched an effort to ban Uber, dealing a blow to the Asian expansion drive of the $18bn driver-hailing smartphone app that has faced furious opposition from taxi drivers around the world.“Uber is hurting the good people of the taxi industry,” said Kim Kyung-ho, head of the Seoul city transport department.A city government statement on Monday pointed to a series of alleged legal breaches and said it was developing a similar app that will direct customers to licensed taxis. The city will petition national authorities to shut down Uber’s “illegal” operations in Seoul, a spokeswoman later added.
Just as it originally did in the United States, Uber offers only its high-end car service in Seoul, not its taxi equivalent, UberX. For now it will face an uphill battle to get even this limited service established.Uber has hit snags before in its expansion plans in the United States and abroad. Usually these come in the form of protests by taxi drivers, who then pressure licensing bodies to combat the company. Uber’s carefully cultivated image as an outsider and a disruptor may prove more problematic in Asia, however, especially where large, native corporations work closely with government.As the Financial Times points out, Uber is undeterred, pursuing aggressive expansion plans across the Pacific Rim. Will its innovative business model be able to overcome official resistance?