Uber says will suspend operations in Macau

Uber could "not secure a business environment" to "unlock the full benefits of ride-sharing" in Macau.
Uber could "not secure a business environment" to "unlock the full benefits of ride-sharing" in Macau. PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Uber Technologies Inc will suspend its services in Macau from July 22 as it has not been able to unlock the full benefits of ride sharing in the gambling hub, in another blow to the firm that is fighting legal scrutiny in many Asian markets.

This is the second time Uber has decided to pause its operations in Macau.

The prior plan had been triggered by steep fines of 10 million patacas (S$1.71 million) imposed on its drivers in the Chinese-ruled territory, but the company did a U-turn last September and decided to stay on citing "unprecedented amount of support received" from Macau residents.

“We are already exploring ways to serve the city again, and have had initial discussions with business partners, including transport operators and hotels,” Uber said on its website on Monday (July 17).

A spokesman declined to elaborate beyond the statement or give numbers regarding Uber’s presence in Macau.

Last September, Uber's costly two-year battle to break into the potentially lucrative Chinese market was brought to a close with the sale of its operations in the country to Didi Chuxing, though the US company retains a 20 per cent stake.

Macau is not a big market for the US firm, but it adds to the list of countries where Uber’s ride-sharing service has run into regulatory problems, such as Korea and Japan.

Its drivers continue to face a legal battle in Hong Kong.

In Taiwan, Uber made a comeback in April, after a two-month suspension, following talks with the authorities.