Choose Uber, company urges Hongkongers as it fights for legalisation in city

Ride-hailing firm invites users to share reasons for choosing its services in online campaign called “IChooseUber”

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 May, 2017, 9:21pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 May, 2017, 11:02pm

More than one million Uber riders in Hong Kong have been invited to show their support for the ride-hailing firm in a territory-wide online campaign starting on Wednesday as it fights for legalisation in the city.

The Hong Kong office sent out emails to users in the city as part of its campaign called “IChooseUber”, requesting that they share their Uber stories on a newly launched webpage:

The move comes as the embattled firm is seeking a meeting with Hong Kong’s incoming leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in the hope of securing a formal regulatory framework for its operations.

Uber suffers ‘drastic decline’ in drivers and fares soar as Hong Kong crackdown takes toll

Its Hong Kong office has been struggling with its car-hailing business after the crackdown last week on 22 drivers, who are accused of driving without hire-car permits or third-party insurance.

In the email to its registered riders, Uber Hong Kong general manager Kenneth She Chun-chi asked them to share their reasons for choosing its ride service. As of 9pm on Wednesday, more than 2,600 users have posted on the website, launched at 4.30pm that day, in support of the company.

“We want to keep serving Hong Kong and giving you choices in how you move,” he told riders in the letter.

“‘I choose Uber’ because three years ago I believed that Hong Kong needed to be part of the future of mobility, and I’ve been fighting for it ever since.”

22 Uber drivers arrested in undercover Hong Kong police operation

The firm is also placing advertisements this week in various newspapers, and on online media and social media platforms to drum up public support for the campaign.

The advertisement displays a big question: “Do we really have no choice?”

Uber’s She told the Post that his firm would provide the 22 drivers with full legal support, saying that their arrests “put the future of ride-sharing services at risk”.

The company, which had purchased insurance from AIG for third-party coverage worth up to HK$100 million for any ride-sharing trip in the city, also gave the drivers documents to show to police officers that they had secured such insurance.

“We hope that through this campaign and with many supporters, the new government will view Uber’s operations in a positive light,” the general manager said.

Despite the police crackdown, She insisted that the company would continue to work towards a win-win situation with the Hong Kong government to legalise Uber’s operations in the city.