Uber Technologies Inc., a U.S.-based ride-hailing service operator, is having another go at the Korean market through an existing legitimate ride-sharing local player to avoid legal issue and clash with traditional taxicab industry.
According to the industry sources on Tuesday, officials from Uber have been in talks with Korean car-sharing firms like Poolus, Titi-Caca and Luxi to make bid offers.
One driver from a car-sharing company confirmed he gave a ride to a foreigner who claimed to be an Uber employee who asked about driver’s average wages and ride rates.
In Korea, it is illegal to charge fares with cars unlicensed for for-profit business. But Poolus and others claim their service is perfectly legal under the exemption clause that allows car-sharing during rush hours to ease congestion on the roads.
Poolus provides car-sharing service from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., and 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. It started off its business in April 2016 in Seongnam City, Gyeonggi Province, and recently expanded its service in Seoul and further around Gyeonggi Province and some parts of Incheon where the airport is located. Luxi that had launched its service in August 2016 in Gangnam area in southern Seoul also broadened its service to other areas in Seoul and outskirt Incheon, Gyeonggi Province as well as the southern port city of Busan.
Uber had entered the Korean market in 2013 but is more or less out of service over legality issue and strong protests from domestic taxi industry.
By Oh Chan-jong
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]