Taiwan Adds to Uber's Legal Tangles as Ban Threatened

Tim Maytom

uber chinaBeleaguered taxi booking app Uber is facing another round of legal scrutiny, this time from Chinese authorities in Taiwan and Chongqing, the mainland mega city, less than a week after the company received investment from Chinese firm Baidu.

Authorities in both cities are concerned over Uber drivers' lack of appropriate licences, as the app matches up passengers and drivers, only some of whom are registered taxi drivers.

The lack of regulation has already seen Uber banned in parts of Germany, India and France, hit with strict regulation in Singapore and met with protests by traditional taxi drivers in multiple countries.

According to the Taiwanese transport ministry, Uber is licenced to provide information services rather than transport, and as such, it is investigating whether it has the authority and enforcement capabilities to block access to the app and website.

"If Uber obtains the proper licence it can continue operating in Taiwan," said Liang Guo Guo, deputy director of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. "The company has not made clear how it plans to proceed."

In a separate statement, the government in Chongqing said it was investigating the legal status of Uber's use of private drivers, which it said could be "classified as illegal behaviour" and that unlicenced drivers could face fines between 30,000 yuan (£3,100) and 100,000 yuan.

Uber currently operates in eight Chinese cities, with its services in Chongqing part of a free trial ahead of beginning full operations there.