Uber ready to move regional headquarters to Hong Kong, still struggling towards regulated ridesharing

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The plan to move Uber’s Asia-Pacific HQ to Hong Kong is a vote of confidence to a city that still needs to take steps towards regulating the rideshare business.

Photo courtesy of Stock Catalog on Flickr / CC BY 2.0.

Note: This article and its title has been edited for factual accuracy.

Uber announced on Wednesday that it is prepared to relocate its Asia-Pacific headquarters from Singapore to Hong Kong, a move towards establishing “an innovation and engineering hub.”

“These investments will create jobs and opportunities for Hong Kongers, with flow-on benefits to the tech ecosystem that will help Hong Kong maintain its position as a world leading city,” said Richard Willder, Uber’s Head of Public Policy and Government Affairs in North Asia.

Since it began operations in Hong Kong in 2014, Uber has given customers tens of millions of rides to 25 percent of the population. Uber Eats, its food delivery app, has garnered over 6,400 restaurant partners.

This move is a vote of confidence to Hong Kong, which although was economically hit by the anti-government protests and the COVID-19 pandemic, is making a rapid comeback.

“After a sharp drop, Hong Kong is already leading the way, with the city already back to over 70 per cent of pre-crisis trip levels,” an official Uber statement said. 

Photo courtesy of Richard Willder on LinkedIn.

Willder emphasised that cooperation on the government’s part towards regulation are crucial in order for ridesharing to flourish: “[R]egulatory certainty for our core business is key – it is time for Hong Kong to regulate ridesharing,” Willder asserted.

“Today’s announcement is not only about the future of Uber in Hong Kong, but the future of the City as a global economic powerhouse and technology capital where innovative businesses can thrive and grow,” said Hong Kong General Manager of Uber, Estyn Chung. 

Chung also argues for the need to regulate ridesharing, and that HK’s slow progress on the matter has hindered it from making similar investments that Uber has made in other cities such as Sydney, New York, and New Delhi.

With its sights set on rideshare regulation, Uber works to become a major force that brings in investment and jobs to Hong Kong.

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