Uber facing ban from Apple and Google app stores in Taiwan
Wed 16 Nov 2016
Taiwanese authorities have requested that Apple and Google remove Uber from their app listings, in the latest effort from the country to rid its roads of the ride-hailing service.
The government asked both Silicon Valley giants to scrap the Uber app from Taiwanese versions of the App Store and Google Play. It also requested the removal of the company’s food delivery app UberEats, which recently launched in Taiwan.
Taiwanese officials have complained that Uber is misrepresenting itself in the country, operating as a technology company rather than a transportation firm to avoid paying higher tax rates. Police in Taiwan have reportedly been handing out fines to Uber drivers and are also suspending licenses for up to six months.
Following discussions with Taiwanese authorities, Uber maintains that it operates in full compliance with all local regulations.
‘Uber has not done what it says it will do, so we are looking at another way by requesting its apps be removed from Apple and Google (app stores),’ said Liang Guo-guo, spokesman for Taiwan’s Directorate General of Highways.
Should the requests be approved, Taiwanese users will be unable to download and update official Uber releases issued via the App Store and the Google Play platform. Those who choose to side-load the app will not receive automatic updates and risk exposure to malware.
Uber and Apple have not provided any comments in response to the issue. Despite offering little detail, a Google spokesperson did point to the company’s Google Play policy which indicates that it does not allow apps that ‘facilitate or promote illegal activities.’
Uber faces ongoing scrutiny from regulators and union groups worldwide but is finding particular opposition to its expansion efforts in Asian markets. In August, Malaysian cab drivers held a series of strikes to oppose the government’s plans to legalise ride-sharing companies including Uber.
Earlier in the year, the ride-sharing firm also faced taxi driver protests in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. The demands, as usual, revolved around Uber falling in line with local regulation or being banned from operating in the city.