‘Uber is legal’

By Park Hyung-ki

Car-sharing app stresses benefits for city transportation: Asia chief

  • Published : Aug 6, 2014 - 21:00
  • Updated : Aug 6, 2014 - 21:00
Uber, a taxi-hailing app based out of Silicon Valley, reiterated that it is operating in South Korea legally and denied the Seoul city government’s claim that its platform illegally connects riders with unauthorized drivers.

However, Allen Penn, the head of Uber Technologies Asia, said regulations can be confusing when looking at its business from different aspects, and that the company was willing to clear up any misunderstandings.

“We welcome any clarity on (regulations) from Seoul City,” Penn told the press in Seoul on Wednesday.
Uber Asia chief Allen Penn. (Uber)

“Uber is a technology platform that has partnered with existing licensed limousine companies that have served their customers for a long time. The service is clearly legal.”

The Uber Asia chief said the company has been paying its taxes on the 20 percent commission it gets from providing its mobile app that allows consumers to call rides.

He added that its local insured partners get the majority of the fares and pay taxes as legally required.

Its key focus is on improving transportation systems in cities around the world by offering a convenient and safe app that lets users immediately call for drivers they know in advance before cars pick them up.

Consumers can also send feedback and rate their drivers after the ride, and the app lets their friends or family members know where they are, Penn said.

“Uber brings value to the cities we operate in,” he said. “It can remove up to 20 private cars from the roads (and reduce traffic congestion), increase consumer spending and growth.”

The company claims to have added $3 billion to the U.S. economy and helped drivers earn more income. In New York, an Uber driver earns an average of $70,000 to $90,000 a year.

A move to ban its platform by Seoul, which has filed a report to the police, would not fit with Korea’s creative economy vision, he said.

By Park Hyong-ki (