Uber rides into more trouble in Asia as it halts its service in Macau


Uber has bowed to regulators in Asia once again after the U.S.
ride-sharing giant halted its service in Macau, the gambling
mecca that is a special administrative region
of China.

The company said it will “pause” its services in
Macau from July 22 following a prolonged disagreement with
local regulators. Uber aborted previous plans to exit the
market last September, and even today it has left the door open
to a return to business there.

“By pausing, we hope to open the door for a constructive
dialogue with all stakeholders in Macau; and enable a
business environment that realizes the full benefits of
ride-sharing for everyone. We are already exploring ways
to serve the city again, and have had initial discussions with
business partners, including transport operators and hotels,”
Uber wrote in a blog post.

For an idea of how any such partnership might work, you can
look to Taiwan. Uber halted its service there following similar
pressure at the beginning of this year, only to resume business through a partnership with
licensed rental car companies.

This is not the first setback Uber has experienced in Asia by
any means. Previously, of course, it sold its business in China to competitor
Didi
, while it has run into issues with
regulators across Southeast Asia, in Hong Kong and
Korea. Indeed, in Japan and Korea, two messaging app companies
Line and Kakao, respectively — provide stiff
competition for its services. Likewise, Grab (Southeast Asia)
and Ola (India) have collectively raised more than $1 billion
and are seen as neck-and-neck rivals in their respective
countries.

Macau may not be a huge nation — its population is less than
one million — but as a tourist destination with China’s only
casinos and a clutch of high-end luxury hotels, there’s
potential for a lucrative transportation market. Indeed,
as the only part of China where gambling is legal, Macau’s
casino industry is highly lucrative, grossing $2.65 billion over the last
year of business.


Featured Image: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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