Tue, Feb 07, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Uber is an isolated case, NDC deputy head says

RECEPTIVE:Taiwan is a good testing ground for innovative ideas, because people are open to new business models, the NDC deputy minister said

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

Uber might be able to stay in Taiwan despite a heavy fine handed down by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) for offering taxi services illegally, National Development Council (NDC) Deputy Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said yesterday, adding that the company should seek to rekindle communication with the administrative authority.

Kung made the remarks on a Yahoo TV program where he spoke about the administration’s plan to encourage the development of new and innovative businesses.

When asked by the host Peng Chi-ming (彭啟明) about his position on the possibility that the ride-hailing service app might withdraw from Taiwan after it was fined by the MOTC for contravening the Highway Act (公路法), he said that the MOTC is the administrative authority regulating taxi services and he could only offer his personal opinion on the issue.

“I was reminded by my friends from abroad that what the government has done to Uber could generate doubt among business developers over how much support they can receive from the Taiwanese government, but I kept telling them that what happened with Uber was an isolated case,” he said.

Kung said that continuous communication is key in resolving conflicts and restoring balance between new businesses and existing industries.

“I do not think Uber will leave Taiwan for good and they should seek further communication with the MOTC,” he said.

“I believe if we have the determination to do so, we can find a win-win solution,” he added.

Kung also said that Taiwan is a good testing ground for innovative businesses.

People in Taiwan are receptive to new service models, as one can see from the effects generated by Uber within just a few years, Kung said, adding that the key is to find a balance and consensus under the legal framework.

The MOTC has been insisting that Uber register as a transportation company or a taxi service provider, and meet the corresponding obligations.

Uber has defied the taxi service label, saying it offers a platform that matches people needing a ride and drivers who can give them a lift.

Asking Uber to register as a taxi company and follow the relevant regulations is as illogical as forcing someone to “eat soup with chopsticks,” the company said.

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