Indeed, according to CNBC.com, Uber is the ride-for-hire companies hottest market. This was something of a surprise to their planners, the Financial Times, noted. With a price structure for the app-based ride-service that is 1.5 to 2 times the standard Hong Kong fare, the San Francisco-based online transport firm had expected a much tougher time penetrating the Hong Kong market.
“The business in Hong Kong has been absolutely taking off,” Sam Gellman, Uber’s general manager for the area, told CNBC Asia’s “Squawk Box” yesterday. “It’s the fastest-growing that Uber has had outside the US.”
Uber is the controversial dial-a-limo service that uses somewhat questionable business practices, observers have noted, to gain market share. The app-based smartphone service added its taxi service to Hong Kong’s app in the middle of last month so now users have the full range of smartphone-based services available.
Uber’s growth in the last 12 months has been little short of exponential. Although it was launched in 2008 and saw slow-but-steady growth until last year. Over the last 12 months the limo service added 50 new sites, jumping from 100 to 150.
The Uber mobile app connects potential customers with drivers and vehicles for hire. Using the app, customers request a ride and if the business is accepted the company’s computer system automatically computes the fare and puts it on your credit card. This makes this a cash-free app, although all of your data is shown on your smartphone.
Although the press announcement of Uber’s success in Hong Kong made it seem as if everywhere they go, the ride-for-hire firm is greeted warmly that is far from the case.
For example, Uber has been cited by authorities across the globe and told to stay out of cities around the world because of their cutthroat business practices. Those practices include prowling for fares in cities from which they had been banned as Uber flaunts the law it is also trying to invoke in other places. This may seem a little hard-to-believe but Uber recently told drivers in New York that they could only work for Uber. Traffic regulations forbid them working for the competition.
When contacted New York authorities said that is just not the case and it is just another way Uber tries to tilt the playing field so that everyone falls off, except Uber, of course.
In Hong Kong, Uber’s key competition is Easy Fares.