Uber’s offices in China have been raided by the police, the International Business Times reports, following a crackdown by authorities on ridesharing apps.
The company launched in China in 2013, and says that activity in the country has “far exceeded our wildest dreams.” But along the way it has raised the ire of the Chinese government, the taxi industry, and some consumers too.
It’s par for the course for Uber, which is wildly successful, but frequently runs into — and sometimes ignores — regulatory issues when it expands to new territories.
The $US40 billion startup’s office in Guangzhou were raided by the police last night, and several mobile phones were reportedly “temporarily confiscated.” A statement from the city’s transport commission seen by International Business Times says officials “inspected a company which is suspected of organising private cars with are not qualified to provide passenger services, and of not having registered with the commercial authorities.”
The commission argues that Uber’s business model of offering vehicles and drivers to rent via an app constitutes potential “illegal business activity,” and it will continue to crack down on “illegal operators who disrupt the transport market.”
A spokesperson for Uber told Business Insider that the company “prides itself on providing efficient and convenient transportation options for riders to get from point to point, helping cities reduce congestion pollution. We have maintained open channels of communications and are working closely with local authorities in cooperation.”
Drivers in China using Uber have previously been fined and even had their vehicles confiscated. These tensions are emerging as Uber clashes with and disrupts the established taxi industry. It is happening all other the world, and has led to frequent protests against the company.
But complicating the matters is the fact that the Chinese taxi industry is largely state-owned. Additionallly, the International Business Times reports, the rising numbers of taxi drivers opting to use apps like Uber have made it harder to hail a taxi from the street, angering some Chinese citizens.
Nonetheless, Uber will undoubtedly push on. China expansion manager Candice Lo recently told a conference that “China has far exceeded our wildest dreams,” Forbes reports. “It’s a highly competitive market, but a huge opportunity.”
And it’s faced raids and legal crackdowns in new territories before. Its offices in Paris and and Amsterdam have both been raided by police this year. It was also banned in Portugal late last month, and has also recently been banned in Germany — again. India is also cracking down on the company following an alleged rape by a driver.