Uber quits Taiwan market as fines mount

Car-hailing app Uber puts the brakes on its ride-sharing services in Taiwan after racking up fines since its launch in 2013 for unlicensed taxi services.

The company said in a statement on Thursday that the suspension would be effective from 10 February as a bid to "restart dialogue" with the Taiwanese government, which has ordered Uber to pay NT$1.1 billion in fines within a month after an amendment to the Highway Act that raises the maximum fine for illegal passenger transport services took effect.

Uber also said that the government is "moving away from embracing innovation and 21st century trends in transportation".

Since Uber launched its service in Taiwan four years ago, it had made 15 million trips, the statement added.

Taiwan’s Investment Commission said that the government requested the suspension of Uber’s business. The company faced fines because it recruited drivers for its transportation services, and if Uber wants to continue operating in Taiwan, it will need to re-register as a transportation company, a spokeswoman from the government said.

Suspending its services in Taiwan comes amid push-back from regulators and drivers in many markets. In the US, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has just announced his resignation from Donald Trump's Strategic & Policy Forum, as the backlash against Uber for providing ride-hailing services during a New York taxi strike protesting the new president's executive order limiting immigration from certain countries reached an all-time high.

An internal memo from Kalanick has gone viral on Twitter.