Uber Ban in Seoul Could Hurt Its Asian Expansion Plans

"We are looking into related laws to block Uber and similar apps that arrange such illegal transportation activities," said the city council.

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City council members in Seoul are trying to find laws that would make ride-sharing app Uber illegal in that city. Officials are citing unfair competition for taxi drivers and concerns about driver background checks and vehicle maintenance.

“We are looking into related laws to block Uber and similar apps that arrange such illegal transportation activities,” said the city council according to BBC News. “Uber is charging customers while avoiding the regulatory process, which creates unfair competition for taxi drivers.”

Yet the city also has plans to launch its own Uber-like service, a GPS-based app for taxis.

Uber told The Wall Street Journal that the city council’s comments “show Seoul is in danger of remaining trapped in the past and getting left behind by the global ‘sharing economy’ movement.”

Despite recent protests by traditional taxi drivers in the Americas and Europe — and being banned in Belgium — Uber was valued at $18 billion in a June funding round that raised $1.2 billion.

The ride-sharing and taxi-alternative service is available in 41 countries and 149 cities throughout the world. Uber launched in Seoul last August as part of its Asian expansion into Singapore, Bangalore and Hong Kong. Last week it launched in Beijing.