Uber Faces Widespread Asia Bribery Allegations Amid U.S. Criminal Probe

Eric Newcomer, reporting for Bloomberg;

Uber Technologies Inc., facing a federal probe into whether it broke laws against overseas bribery, has embarked on a review of its Asia operations and notified U.S. officials about payments made by staff in Indonesia, people with knowledge of the matter said.

As the Justice Department looks into a possible criminal case, Uber is working with law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP to examine records of foreign payments and interview employees, raising questions about why some potentially problematic business dealings weren’t disclosed sooner, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.

Philippines?!

I’m not sure but I’ll just link these here;

UberFlash and UberTaxi launch in Malaysia

Leighton Cosseboom, writing for Tech in Asia;

Uber Malaysia introduced two new services today, UberFlash and UberTaxi, aiming to make it easier for Malaysians to use the ride-hailing app.

With UberTaxi, Malaysian taxi cabs will be available upon request via Uber. Meanwhile, UberFlash will connect riders to the driver closest to them, whether that is a private UberX car or a taxi on the e-hailing network.

Uber is launching these services inside Grab’s own backyard.

You can read Uber’s announcement here.

Grab and Toyota Launch Data Collaboration Initiative for Connected Car Services

Grab;

Grab, the leading on-demand transportation and mobile payments platform in Southeast Asia, today announced the launch of a new data-focused pilot programme with Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota Financial Services Corporation, and Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co., Ltd. The project aims to use data analysis to enable Grab to offer its driver partners across the region improved access to connected car services that will improve their experience on the Grab platform.

As part of the initiative, Grab will share data on driving patterns from 100 Toyota cars in Grab’s fleet, captured by Toyota’s data-transmission driving recorder, TransLog. Toyota’s team will then analyse the data set and, based on this analysis, offer recommendations on how other connected car services on the Toyota Mobility Service Platform (MSPF) – such as user-based insurance, financing program, and predictive maintenance – could enhance the Grab experience for drivers on the Grab platform.

Grab Announces Strategic Investment from Toyota Tsusho

Grab;

Grab Inc. (“Grab”), the leading on-demand transportation and mobile payments platform in Southeast Asia, today announced that Toyota Tsusho Corporation (“Toyota Tsusho”), the sole general trading company of Toyota Group, has invested in Grab. Toyota Tsusho made this investment through its Next Technology Fund, and is the latest participant in Grab’s current financing round, led by SoftBank and Didi Chuxing.

A big win for Grab!

LTFRB do not have any legal basis for those fines against Uber and Grab

Written by Atty. Peter Michael Dizon;

The only legal bases for LTRFB penalties will show you a range between P5,000.00 for the first offense, P10,000.00 for a second offense, and P15,000.00 for a third offense. There are also other penalties in the amounts of P50,000.00, P75,000.00, P100,000.00, and P200,000.00 for various offenses.

The link was originally shared by James Deakin, if you’re following the Uber-LTFRB drama, this is a very good read.

I strongly encourage you to read the article, since it tackles the legal matters of Uber’s suspension and fines.

Uber reportedly picks Expedia CEO as its new CEO

Anisa Menur A. Maulani, writing for e27;

Ride-hailing giant Uber has appointed Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi as the company’s new CEO, according to a Reuters report.

Newly appointed Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, on his first day, will have a lot on its plate. Fixing first the sexism culture in the company and second the problem in the Philippines, hopefully!

Grab will pour $100m into Myanmar as it faces off with Uber

Judith Balea, writing for Tech in Asia;

Grab, Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing app, has committed to invest US$100 million over the next three years in Myanmar, where Uber also debuted earlier this year.

The company will use the money to extend its services to more cities in the country, which has seen exploding mobile phone adoption. It will also roll out other products such as its digital payment feature GrabPay, and increase its local headcount to 200, it said in a statement. The company is exploring offering its corporate ‘Grab for Work’ solution after seeing healthy demand.

Win for ride-hailing apps as Indonesia overthrows key transportation rules

Nadine Freischlad, writing for Tech in Asia;

  • Indonesia’s supreme court, the country’s highest judiciary institution, has overthrown key parts of the regulatory framework that affect ride-hailing companies like Uber, Grab, and Go-Jek.
  • 18 paragraphs were ruled to be in conflict (PDF link) with existing laws regulating SMEs and the transportation sector and declared ineffective.

LTFRB could learn a thing or two from Indonesia’s experience. There’s a reason why Uber, Grab and other transport network vehicle services (TNVS) are thriving and that’s where LTFRB is failing the commuting public.

You can read the translated version of the original article here.

New malware masquerades as a ride-sharing app

John Biggs, reporting for TechCrunch;

An update to the venerable Faketoken.q Android malware has made it easier for the program to steal your credit card information from ride-sharing apps. Faketoken attacks Russian ride-sharing apps by overlaying text boxes on the credit card information pages that can capture your credit number and other important information.

You may want to read this article by Kaspersky on how “Faketoken.q,” tricks you into capturing your credit card information.

Uber announces new chief business officer for APAC

Leighton Cosseboom, writing for Tech in Asia;

Uber announced today that it has hired Brooks Entwistle as its new chief business officer for Asia-Pacific.

With the challenges that Uber is facing in the region, the only thing that I can say to Brooks is.. “Best of Luck!”

MiCab

MiCab, a Cebu-based ride-sharing startup that, unlike Uber or Grab, “exclusively partner with taxi fleet companies who take pride in their service, putting the value of their vehicles and drivers top of the priority.”

MiCab is currently available in Visayas; Cebu City and Iloilo City, with plans to launch the service in Metro Manila and Davao City.

MiCab is one of the 20 Startup Finalist of IdeaSpace’s 2013 Startup Competition.

MiCab in Manila to launch next month

Alyza Angeles, writing for Yugatech;

MiCab, a Visayas-based taxi-hailing app, will finally pave its way in Metro Manila next month.

If I were MiCab, I’ll launch the service in Manila this month!

MiCab, a homegrown ride-sharing service. The service “exclusively partner with taxi fleet companies who take pride in their service, putting the value of their vehicles and drivers top of the priority” which means none of that LTFRB-drama.

Their app is available to both iOS and Android users.

LTFRB suspends Uber Philippines for 1 month

From LTFRB’s FB Page;


From their twitter account;

I agree with James Deakin’s argument that activated does not necessarily mean that all accredited drivers/vehicle are on the road picking up riders. We need to understand that not all Uber driver are full-time drivers, since they have a day job that they need to maintain but that does not mean that they need the extra income.

LTFRB posted the details of the suspension on their facebook page, I’m not sure why.

Uber rolls out Driver Profiles

Alyza Angeles, writing for Yugatech;

Basically, the new feature works just by simply tapping the photo of your driver to view his/her profile. From there, you can scroll down to see his/her achievements as well thank you notes from other riders. You can even chat your driver up and leave a thank you note after your ride.

When was the last time you saw the profile of a taxi driver?

This is just a small feature but it has a big effect on the service, which is what taxi operator needs to do. I expect Grab to follow suit or roll-out similar feature, if its not already available.

China’s Didi backs Uber rival Careem to expand its global footprint into the Middle East

Jon Russell, writing for TechCrunch;

A week after its first investment in Europe, Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi Chuxing is spreading its wings once again after it announced a financing deal with Careem, an Uber rival in the Middle East that is valued at more than $1 billion. The size of the investment was not disclosed.

Didi Chuxing appears to be investing to every ride-sharing startups in every region, except for Uber.

Grab and Uber render LTFRB irrelevant

Joel Ruiz Butuyan, writing for Inquirer.net;

With Grab and Uber, we have private companies that accredit vehicles which follow the responsibilities expected from licensed public transporters, even if most of them don’t have LTFRB franchises.

The LTFRB has become an outright failure in the performance of its government mandate because its licensing scheme amounts to a useless system in protecting the commuting public. Now come two private companies with new systems that have demonstrated rousing success in performing responsibilities which the LTFRB has completely abdicated.

A great read, specially if you are following the Gra, Uber and LTFRB drama.

To summarize, Grab, Uber and other transportation network company (TNC), brought out the shortcomings of both LTFRB and tax operators, which is the lack of infrastructure to moderate/penalize unscrupulous drivers.

We have to remember that Grab, Uber and other transportation network company (TNC) are already self-regulating and penalizes its driver, and reporting a unscrupulous Uber driver, is as easy as sending an email or text message.

China’s taxi on-demand war reignited: Didi rival UCAR is raising $1 billion

Emma Lee, reporting for TechCrunch;

Didi Chuxing’s deal to acquire Uber China seemingly left the Chinese ride-hailing giant as the last man standing and therefore sole winner of China’s vast ride-sharing market. However, Didi’s success has also served to open new opportunities for other competitors. It would seem that there’s no way for a single company to gobble up the entire market as a whole, even if it’s Didi.

MyTaxiIndia

MTI (My Taxi India) is a complete car rental solution for local, outstation or holidays tour. Within few years of its launch, MTI already has the largest ISO 9001:2008 certified taxi network in India, or local, outstation or holidays tour. Within few years of its launch, MTI already has the largest ISO 9001:2008 certified taxi network in India, with over 15,000 + taxis operating across 120+ cities. Unlike other on-line car rental companies in the country, the company follows an affiliate business model, whereby it works with on-board taxi fleet operators across the country.

The startup was founded in 2013 by CEO Anshuman Mihir.

UAE’s Zain Group makes strategic investment in MyTaxiIndia

Sainul Abudheen K, reporting for E27;

Gurgaon-based MyTaxiIndia (MTI), an online platform to book outstation taxi and cab rental services in India, has raised strategic investment from UAE-based investment and holding company Zain Group of Companies.

The startup was founded in 2013 by Anshuman Mihir (CEO). MTI is an outstation taxi and cabs service provider, focussed on servicing both one-way taxi and package-based outstation taxi service segments. Its services are available in more than 120 cities across India with 10,000-plus routes, including Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Agra, Chandigarh, Pune, Manali, and Shimla.

Ola gets $330m from SoftBank, but valuation plummets to $3.5b

DurbaDurba Ghosh, writing for Tech in Asia;

India’s Uber arch-rival Ola has once again won backing from Japan’s SoftBank, with fresh funding of US$330 million, a person familiar with the details of the deal told Tech in Asia.

However, the fresh funding comes at a cost. Ola’s valuation has dropped by more than 30 percent to US$3.5 billion, Business Standard reported today. Ola’s valuation drop is indicative of declining investor confidence in India.

It’s high time for Ola to expand to other markets and not just their home country.

LTFRB rejects 15,000 Uber, Grab applications

Rappler.com;

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Thursday, January 5, said it dismissed nearly half of franchise applications – over 15,000 out of some 32,000 – for ride-hailing services Grab and Uber.

The article continued that the reason the applicants were rejected because they have incomplete requirements or they did not appear at hearings. Which is valid!

Uber PH voices dissent on surge cap, urges drivers to petition gov’t

Newsbytes.PH;

Although it has agreed to reduce its surge pricing as requested by the government, ride-sharing app operator Uber Philippines has asked its partner drivers to write the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to make known of their opposition to the price cap.

With the pending approval of HB 4669, I don’t think LTFRB will change their minds on the price cap for transport network service providers (TNS) like Uber and Grab.