Uber announced today that it is ready to move its Asia Pacific headquarters from Singapore to Hong Kong, if the local government allows it to operate in the city legally.
“We stand ready to move our regional headquarters to Hong Kong, we stand ready to create our engineering and innovation hub here,” said Uber’s general manager for Hong Kong, Estyn Chung at a press conference hosted by Uber.
The ride-hailing firm said it hopes to make the move to Hong Kong in the next 12 months, but “regulatory certainty is key” and “it is time for Hong Kong to regulate ride-sharing”.
In Hong Kong, there is no legislation solely for regulating services provided by ride-hailing apps. It is illegal for vehicles that are not licensed as taxis or have a hire car permit to carry passengers “for rewards” under Hong Kong law, according to a research paper from the Hong Kong government.
“Like any business, regulatory certainty on our core business is needed before any of this can happen. It’s simply not possible for us to make significant investments without our core ride-sharing business meeting its full potential,” said Chung.
Chung said Uber is optimistic about the future of Hong Kong, and the US-based company is urging the Hong Kong government to regulate ride-sharing in the city.
“Today, we are asking the government and community leaders to sit down with us. Sit down with us and have a constructive conversation about specific proposals and solutions that will help us build a pathway to regulating ride-sharing,” said Chung.
Uber, which has been in Hong Kong for six years now, also operates its Uber Eats business in Hong Kong.