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Uber points at media as it clarifies China ban confusion

01/12/2015| 4:01:29 PM|

In a statement released in response to the reports that it had been banned in China, Uber said: “Uber’s business is running as usual. "

Uber has issued a statement in response to “some misunderstanding among international media” which led to a number of reports saying that Uber had been banned in China.

In a statement released in response to the reports, Uber said:

“Uber’s business is running as usual.

“China’s top leaders’ recent statements have shown support for reforms and innovation. We are also pleased to see Ministry of Transportation confirming the value and benefits that innovative mobile Internet technologies bring to the transportation industry.

“Uber respects the key role the government plays in ensuring that its citizens have access to safe, affordable and efficient transportation options. We are actively working with authorities around the world to adopt appropriate regulations to accommodate new technologies that can help solve many of the current problems with urban transportation — congestion, pollution and lost productivity at work.

“We appreciate our ongoing conversations with Chinese authorities and believe that consumers and communities will continue to benefit from the progress we have seen.

The misunderstanding arose after the Chinese authorities clamped down on private, unlicensed drivers using apps to secure business. The ban therefore is not on the apps but on certain individuals using the apps – a small but significant difference.

In fact, the authorities, as pointed out by Uber, think that taxi apps can be a good thing. “Banning private cars from using the apps will put passengers at ease,” the ministry is reported to have said in its official statement. “But apps for premium car services have an innovative service model and play a positive role in meeting the high-end and differentiated transportation market.”

The ban on unlicensed drivers also applies to Uber’s competitors, including Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache.

Nonetheless, the furore indicates that Uber is rarely out of the spotlight. As a business which is so reliant on its brand, there might come a point when the constant barrage of negative reports (even when the stories are misleading) becomes a serious headwind for its growth.

And in terms of China, the demand for licensed drivers must be overwhelming. Never mind Uber having a reported valuation of  $40 billion, I wonder how much the Chinese taxi driver training industry is worth? 
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TAGS: Uber | China | regulation
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