App-based ride-hailing service Uber, which has been under pressure for running an illegal passenger car service in Taiwan, launched a new service, "Uber Eats," Tuesday, seeking to tap into the food delivery market.
The service will be available for free in Taipei for one month with no minimum order required, and will charge roughly NT$82 (US$2.5) per delivery afterwards, Uber said.
Taipei is the fourth Uber Eats base in the Asia-Pacific region, following Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
According to the company, criteria for being an Uber Eats delivery worker includes: be at least 19 years old, able to lift 15 kilograms, free from any criminal record, have a valid driver's license, and a motorbike or scooter that is no more than 15 years old.
According to the company, a driver can earn NT$67.6 for ferrying food to a destination that is three kilometers from the restaurant.
More than 100 restaurants have enrolled in Uber Eats, it said.
Uber's bold move comes amid huge controversy, as it has continuously challenged the law in Taiwan in "the name of innovation."
Uber originally applied to invest in Taiwan as an "information service provider" but has been operating as a taxi service, which is not open to foreign enterprises, the government has said.
That contradiction has also led to fines for Uber drivers and the Investment Commission's plan to revoke Uber's investment permit.
According to Directorate General of Highways (DGH) statistics, Uber and Uber drivers have been fined a total of NT$68 million over the past two years for operating illegally.
In response to Uber's new food delivery service, the DGH pointed out that both Uber and Uber Eats are violating the law, and said it will start collecting evidence immediately for Uber Eats, which could lead to fines ranging from NT$50,000 to NT$150,000 for the delivery person.
Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (???) also condemned Uber for challenging Taiwan's law, and vowed that punishments will continue as long as it is not legalized.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel