Uber “pausing” preparations to move regional HQ to HK

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Much like a lost game of chicken, Uber decides to bail out on its headquarter relocation hopes barely two months after the announcement of its plans.

Uber announced in May that it was ready to move its Asia-Pacific headquarters from Singapore to Hong Kong, but an update yesterday shared the “disappointing news” that these plans would be put on hold.

The company had staked its hopes on regulatory reform in Hong Kong when it came to the ridesharing business, but Richard Willder, Head of Public Policy and Government Affairs in Hong Kong & Macao, writes in an official statement that the HKSAR Government have not met their calls for meaningful dialogue.

“This combination of regulatory uncertainty, a lack of willingness to engage from the Government – in addition to the prospect of increased enforcement against Uber’s driver-partners, as recently announced by the Transport Bureau, and the continuing prosecution of drivers – makes investment increasingly difficult,” he says.

While Uber continues to urge the government to communicate with the company, the decision to put off its plans so soon after the company’s initial announcement makes for a pessimistic outlook for the future of rideshare in Hong Kong.

“[T]his uncertainty does not only hang over Uber’s investment plans in the region,” he explains, “but far more importantly, it hangs over the more than 14,000 active driver-partners who use the app in Hong Kong to find earning opportunities in what are extremely challenging economic times, and the millions of Hong Kongers who rely on Uber to get from A to B.”

James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause during the infamous chicken race scene. Gif courtesy of Pinterest.

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