(Reuters) - Global ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc UBER.UL will pull out of the gambling hub of Macau on September 9, less than 10 months after it launched there, Macau media reported, citing a letter they said was sent by Uber's Asia regional chief.
According to a copy of a letter uploaded onto Macau legislator Au Kam-san's official Facebook account, Uber's Asia Regional General Manager Mike Brown said the firm planned to exit the small China-ruled city, saying its drivers have been fined a total of 10 million patacas ($1.25 million) in the short time in which it has operated in Macau. [bit.ly/2bHtrER]
Uber’s Macau General Manager Trasy Lou Walsh declined to comment specifically on the letter or to clarify whether the firm would pull out of Macau in September.
“We are committed to continuing to serve the riders and drivers of Macau. We continue to seek opportunities to work with the government on modern ridesharing regulations that will give us the chance to keep serving the people of Macau,” she said in a statement.
Brown couldn’t be reached by Reuters.
There was no immediate response from the Macau government, and legislator Au couldn’t be reached for comment.
Uber has around 2,000 full-time and part-time drivers in the territory, Macau’s news agency TDM reported, saying drivers had been notified of the impending halt in operations.
While Macau isn’t a large market with just 600,000 people, Uber’s exit would be another blow for the fast-growing U.S. start-up’s ambitions in the region.
In China, following a costly two-year battle to break into the potentially lucrative market, Uber sold its operations earlier this month to bigger local rival Didi Chuxing in a deal that will give Uber a one-fifth stake in Didi.
Meanwhile Taiwanese authorities have demanded Uber pay a sales tax bill, and may force it out of the island’s market, while it has come under legal scrutiny in Hong Kong.
($1 = 7.9780 patacas)
Reporting by James Pomfret and Farah Master; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell
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