Uber has been operating in Taiwan for over three years now, but to this day, the ride-hailing company continues to face a lot of legal issues in the Far Eastern country. Back in 2014, the firm clashed with the Taiwanese Ministry of Transportation and Communications over the scope of its business, when said Government department claimed that Uber is only allowed to provide information, and not transportation services to Taiwanese nationals. Unfortunately for the San Francisco, California-based company, that was only the beginning of its problems with Taipei.
Today, Uber's legal conflict with Taiwan has allegedly reached new heights, as Reuters reports that Taipei is planning to file an official request to Alphabet and Apple to remove the Uber ride-hailing app from the Taiwanese Google Play Store and iOS App Store. In addition to Uber's main app, Taiwan is also reportedly going to demand an equal measure against UberEATS, an on-demand meal delivery app which Uber launched in the Far Eastern country earlier this week.
Liang Guo-guo, a representative of the Taiwanese Directorate General of Highways, told Reuters that this measure is being taken in response to Uber's unwillingness to comply with regulations, as the San Francisco-based company continues to insist that it's not offering a transportation service, but an online technology platform. Note that this isn't an argument about semantics; being labeled as a transport firm means Uber would have to pay additional taxes to Taiwan. In fact, that's exactly what Taipei is now trying to do – pressure Uber into paying all back taxes the government believes it owes.
While neither Apple nor Uber immediately responded to requests for comments, a spokesperson from Google did point out that the Google Play Store policy prohibits all apps which promote or encourage any type of illegal activity. With that said, the said official declined to predict how the Mountain View-based tech giant will handle the hypothetical request from the Taiwanese government. Just like in many other countries, traditional taxi services in Taiwan are less than pleased with Uber's business model and have staged large-scale protests against the company earlier this year. Given how certain transportation firms in the country are partially owned or funded by the state, it's not surprising that Taipei isn't too happy about the fact that Uber is eating into its profits.