Vietnam's transport ministry to launch app to compete directly with Uber

Thanh Nien News

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Traffic inspectors check an Uber car at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dinh Muoi Traffic inspectors check an Uber car at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dinh Muoi


The Transport Ministry has announced a plan to launch a car booking service similar to Uber, which has faced several legal actions in Vietnam over the past year despite its growing popularity. 
According to the ministry, many mobile apps emulating Uber have been launched to connect passengers and transport services to cater to a growing demand in the local market.
However, the developers of those apps have not been registered in Vietnam. Many individual cars offering Uber-esque services are not allowed to transport passengers either. 
The ministry said its new plan aims to create a legal platform for car hailing services in Vietnam. 
Only transport companies will be allowed to use the ministry's app, it said. This means individual cars will be banned from joining the service. 
If approved, the plan will be launched this year in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Nha Trang and Ha Long. It will be reviewed in 2018 for further expansion. 
Uber, the US-based transport network company, launched its service in Ho Chi Minh City in July 2014 before expanding to other cities.
There have been ongoing debates over the the legality of its service and many Uber cars in Vietnam have been inspected. 
Last April, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung approved a transport ministry's proposal requiring Uber to sign contracts with licensed transport companies.
It is still not allowed to partner with independent drivers.
Statistics from Uber show that it is hugely popular with local passengers. In an unexpected move, it has recently allowed Vietnamese passengers to pay cash. 
With its service now available in 329 cities in 59 countries, Uber is valued at US$50 billion.

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