Uber bows to government pressure and suspends its service in Taiwan

Uber is suspending its service in Taiwan following an ongoing stand-off with the government.

The ride-sharing firm confirmed in a blog post that its service will be “paused” from February 12. Uber isn’t saying when it will resume in the country, where it is present in four cities, but it hopes that the move will “reset the conversation” and help push through new legislation to legalize its service.

Uber has been under pressure over its legitimacy in the country for some time, with regulators taking issue over its use of ‘unlicensed’ drivers. Tensions reached a peak in December, when an amendment raised the maximum fine for Uber drivers caught by authorities to T$25 million ($780,000) from an earlier range of NT$50,000-NT$150,000 ($1,600-$4,800). Earlier, in November, Uber was ordered to pay NT$134 million ($4.3 million) in alleged back taxes and fines in Taiwan.

While Uber is suspending its service, the company claimed that it has played on a number of areas, including obtaining a local insurance policy, initiating “efforts to collaborate” with the local taxi industry, and compliance with the government on cross-border e-commerce policy and a proposed ride-sharing regulation.

Uber first came to Taiwan four years ago. The company said it has completed more than 15 million trips in the country and has “tens of thousands” of drivers there.