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Chinese authorities pay visits to Uber offices

Officials in Guangzhou and Chengdu have investigated two Uber offices in China, as part of the government crackdown on the taxi-hailing app's operations.


Uber is said to be facing a new series of investigations in China, according to a report from Reuters.

Chinese authorities paid visits to offices of the US-based taxi-hailing in China's Guangzhou and Chengdu provinces on April 30 and May 6, respectively. The visits appear to be related to China's zero-tolerance policy for unlicensed taxi drivers, and Chinese authorities have long suspected Uber of violating regulations by allowing private drivers to work in their fleets, reports the South China Morning Post.

The investigations at Uber's Chengdu office took place on May 6, when officials arrived to conduct a routine inspection. Photos of the visit have been circulating online, showing numerous Uber drivers watching as a sizable investigation crew turned over the office.

Chengdu's transport authorities claim that the official reason behind the Chengdu visit was for collecting information, and Uber has reassured its Chengdu drivers that it's still business as usual.

"The Chengdu authorities visited the local Uber office this afternoon, and as stated by the Transport Committee of Chengdu spokesperson in the press, this was a routine visit. There are no disruptions to the Uber platform," said Uber spokesman Karun Arya. "We maintain open channels of communications, cooperating proactively with the authorities to help answer their questions on our local operations."

However, the official's presence at the Guangzhou Uber office on April 30 turned out to be a raid, with officials seizing phones and computers.

Earlier this year, China's Ministry of Transport called for tighter laws against unlicensed taxis, specifically referring to taxi-hailing apps operating in mainland China.

Even if Uber had no raids or police visits to contend with, the Chinese taxi-hailing app scene is dominated by Didi Dache and Kuadi Dache, backed by Chinese e-commerce powerhouses Tencent and Alibaba, respectively. The two apps account for 95 percent of the market share in China, hamstringing Uber in an already volatile Asian market.

Since late 2014, Uber has been consistently plagued by legal issues in other markets, not unlike what the company is currently experiencing in China.