If you asked the average man on the street what Uber is, nine times out of ten they’d tell you it’s a transportation service. I suspect very few – if any at all – would tell you it’s an internet-based technology platform. But that seems to be the tax-dodging wool Uber is trying to pull over Taiwan’s eyes. Taiwan isn’t having any of it though and is planning to ask both Google and Apple to pull all Uber apps from their respective Taiwanese app stores.
Taiwan’s government has already accused Uber of misrepresenting its services in the country and ordered it to pay back taxes as a transportation company. Uber claims it is in compliance with all local regulations and is refusing to pay up. Taiwan’s not buying the story and will now attempt to have Uber’s apps banned.
Liang Guo-guo, a spokesman for Taiwan’s Directorate General of Highways, told Reuters that “Uber has not done what it says it will do, so we are looking at another way by requesting its apps be removed from Apple and Google (app stores)”. The move would not only affect the ride-hailing app, but also UberEATS.
Uber has not done what it says it will do, so we are...requesting its apps be removed from Apple and Google (app stores).
While there would be nothing to stop Taiwanese locals from sideloading the Uber app, having it removed from the official Google Play and Apple app store would put a dent in Uber’s expansionist ambitions in the island nation. Sideloading would deny users the benefits of automatic updates as issued by Apple and Google’s app stores, as well as increase the risk of users installing malicious apps posing as Uber APKs.
Taiwanese police have already begun issuing fines to Uber riders delivering food for UberEATS customers and suspending licenses for between two to six months. The murky legality of Uber’s status in Taiwan may temporarily shield them though, with Google indicating to Reuters that it will only remove apps that are illegal in nature.
Uber is under scrutiny in several other Asian countries for similar claims of misrepresentation.
Do you think Uber is being sneaky? Would you sideload Uber if it were banned in your country?