Uber has taken the nuclear option against increasing government pressure in Taiwan. The ride sharing service has announced that it will suspend operations indefinitely in the country from 10 February; which it says is intended to force the authorities into some sort of action.
Taiwanese authorities had earlier raised fines against Uber to a maximum of TWD 25 million (about RM3.7 million), up from a maximum of TWD 150,000 (about RM21,000). Uber had already been ordered to pay some TWD 134 million (about RM19 million) in back taxes to the government.
Uber has, like in all other countries it operates, been operating under the registration of being an online technology company. A description that authorities believe is misrepresentation of the transportation service.
According to the ride sharing company, the suspension of services is designed to “reset the conversation and inspire President Tsai to take action.” This is not the first time that Uber has tried to reach out to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen to intervene on its behalf.
It doesn’t look like the Taiwanese government is going to back down over its stance against Uber; and shutting down services is only giving them what they want. Uber itself has not said how long it will be suspending services. Pulling out of the country in the near future does not look like something inconceivable at this point, despite the fact that Uber continues to assert that it will be doing everything it can to make things work.