Wed, Oct 04, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Didi Chuxing is eyeing Taiwan, Hochen confirms

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Minister of Transportation and Communications Hochen Tan (賀陳旦) has confirmed that Beijing-based taxi-hailing company Didi Chuxing (滴滴出行) is seeking business partnerships with local taxi companies, adding that it has not signed any formal deal with Taiwanese taxi operators.

Hochen first confirmed the news at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee on Monday, when New Power Party Legislator Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸) asked him if he has any knowledge of the Chinese company’s plans for Taiwan.

“We have heard that it [Didi] is talking with some local taxi operators about the possibility of forming partnerships. We will brief this committee if there is any formal business plan,” Hochen said.

Hochen was also asked to comment on Didi’s intention in Taiwan when meeting with the media late on Monday afternoon. He said that the Chinese firm is very likely to expand its business to Taiwan.

“Companies with the scale of operation of Didi could be asked by the Chinese government to expand their operations to Taiwan, which would be perceived as a way to show loyalty to the government and its policies. Despite the fierce competition among different taxi operators, the overall taxi service in Taiwan still has plenty of room to improve, which might make Didi think that that it has a chance to succeed,” he said.

The Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) might make it difficult for Didi to enter Taiwan if it plans to come as a Chinese firm, he said.

“However, if it comes through a registered offshore company as other foreign investors do, then we want it to also comply with the nation’s regulations when it comes to operating a taxi service, paying taxes and protecting passengers,” he said,

The government would not agree if Didi wants to run its business like Uber, which refused to comply with any of stated regulations, he said.

Didi has become increasingly popular in China and it offers a service similar to Uber. Fares charged by Didi’s cars are less than those by registered taxis, and passengers can pay using WeChat or Alipay.

In separate news, Hochen and some ministry officials are scheduled to fly to Papua New Guinea today to attend the 10th APEC transportation ministerial meeting, which opens on Friday.

Hochen said that one of his missions at the meeting is to see if Taiwan has a chance of participating in public infrastructure projects in the Southeast Asian nations targeted by the government’s New Southbound Policy, particularly building mass rapid transit systems or seaport facilities.

The task would not be easy to accomplish, given the funding involved in the projects and diplomatic considerations, he said.

“We could share our experience of implementing the electronic toll-collection system on national freeways and using technology to monitor public infrastructure projects and to enforce traffic laws. We could also highlight the development of electric motorcycles in Taiwan,” he said.

Apart from meeting with officials from the host nation and the Philippines, Hochen does not exclude the possibility of meeting with Chinese officials, adding that they could exchange views on the development of electric motorcycles and how to use technology to improve traffic flow.

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