Hong Kong taxi industry to consider joining hands with Uber

Hong Kong's taxi industry said it might be willing to join hands with ride-hailing firm Uber after the firm's local boss proposed an e-hailing partnership on Tuesday.

Uber Hong Kong's general manager Kenneth She Chun-chi, proposed the idea for co-operation with the taxi trade after a recent Hong Kong Consumer Council report called on the government to relax the current 1,500 private hire-car permit system to allow ride-hailing vehicles to be on the road legally.

"Our door is always open. We are now studying whether there is room for Uber and the taxi industry to co-operate to jointly tap the e-hailing market, She said.

"After all, the taxi industry may not have the technology platform like ours to provide tailor-made services. If we co-operate together, they can also make use of our backup customer service and even capitalise on our good image to regain consumer confidence as they are now having an image problem,"  todayonline.com quoted She as saying.

Vice-chairman of the Association of Taxi Industry Development Ng Kam-wah said they welcomed the olive branch from Uber as their group had discussed the possibility of cooperating with the ride-hailing firm.

"We think that there is room for the taxi trade to co-operate with Uber as this will be a win-win situation for us," he said. "The taxi industry could benefit from the ride-hailing platform, effective marketing and good customer image of Uber while Uber can operate legally with the taxi vehicles," he added.

Meanwhile, in the UK, the city of York has voted against renewing Uber's licence as the backlash against the ride-hailing firm's business practices continues.

Uber's licence to run its private hire taxi operations in the city will expire at midnight on 23 December.

The city council has, however, rejected its application for renewal due to concerns about the data breach that affected 57 million users worldwide and widespread complaints about the service.

Neil McGonigle, general manager for Uber in York, said it was a "disappointing vote" for riders and drivers.

"We will review the details of the decision once we receive the formal notice from the council," he said in an emailed statement.