Uber’s Asia Pacific Headquarters will remain in Singapore for the medium term, the firm says, after it earlier indicated it might move to Hong Kong should the government adopt a more open attitude to ride-sharing.
“Since [May], we have seen strong public support for reform, but not the level of certainty from the government that we need,” the company says in a statement. “As we continue those efforts, we have decided to keep Singapore as a regional hub for the medium term.”
IT-sector lawmaker Charles Mok says the government has made a mistake in not moving faster. “Uber is welcome by most HK people who’ve used it, and hated only by the vested interests – the taxi trade,” he says. “As a lawmaker, who wants to see changes, I have worked for years to tell our government to move forward. It is our government’s fault for not moving at all. They only know of ponying to vested interests, so, they chose to do nothing. End of story.”
“The bottom line is, people want that service. And they don’t want the poor, no, terrible and horrible, services of the taxi trade,” says Mok. “If the government truly believes ride-sharing may add to traffic congestions, they can regulate the number of Uber cars allowed on the road. But they just rather prefer to leave Uber in a grey area. That is the most irresponsible approach.”
Earlier this month, Uber’s general manager Estyn Chung told Transit Jam the firm sought a regulatory model similar to Australia’s.
Read our full interview with Estyn Chung, to be published this weekend.