* Taiwan transport authorities welcome Uber's move
* Resumption of operation comes after Feb 10 suspension
* Uber says to partner with licensed rental car companies
(Adds more comment from Taiwan authorities)
By J.R. Wu
TAIPEI, April 13 Uber Technologies Inc
said is will resume its ride-hailing service in Taiwan on
Thursday after talks with the island's authorities, ending a
two-month suspension that came after fines from the government.
"After constructive talks with transportation authorities,
we are now partnering with licensed rental car companies to
resume serving riders in Taipei," Uber said in a statement.
The resumption of service comes after the U.S.-based
ride-hailing service halted operations on the island on Feb. 10,
after penalties for unlicenced ride-sharing services were
increased to as much as T$25 million ($825,873) by Taiwan's
Ministry of Transportation and Communications.
"Starting today, people in Taipei can book an Uber ride, and
we expect to bring Uber back to other cities in the near
future," Likai Gu, general manager of Uber Taiwan, said. "We
want to partner with more transportation service partners in
weeks and months to come, whether they be from rental car
companies or the taxi industry."
Taiwan's highway bureau, which is part of the transport
ministry, said that it welcomed Uber's move, but would continue
to supervise Uber's operations in Taiwan to ensure that it did
not pair up with unlicensed individual drivers.
It said that Uber still had T$830 million in outstanding
fines under a legal process of being recovered.
Uber, based in San Francisco, has faced legal scrutiny in
markets across Asia, including in Macau and Japan.
In Taiwan, the issue was that Uber said it operated as an
internet-based technology platform rather than as a
transportation company, which local taxi companies and Taiwanese
authorities have said was a misrepresentation of its service.
Uber and the Taiwan transport authorities said that Uber
would continue to operate as a technology platform company in
Taiwan and that Uber would partner with licenced transport
Taiwanese authorities began imposing fines earlier this year
on unlicensed ride-sharing services, targeted at Uber, which the
company said at the time were the highest in the world.
In the long-running dispute, Taiwan had maintained Uber's
business was illegal, and at one point last year even considered
ordering it to leave the domestic market.
But Uber proponents, many of them individual drivers with
cars in Taiwan, staged counter protests to support the business
opportunities they said the Uber platform provided.
($1 = 30.2710 Taiwan dollars)
(Editing by Christopher Cushing and Jane Merriman)