Uber is aggressively expanding into the turf of taxi-booking apps in Asia. Today it announced the launch of ‘uberTAXI’ in Hong Kong (as spotted by Tech in Asia), which will connect customers with licensed taxis in the city. This comes just a few days after it launched the same service in Japan’s capital city, Tokyo.
Uber’s taxi-booking service works in the same way that rival services Grabtaxi and Easy Taxi do in Asia. In fact, Easy Taxi is already present in Hong Kong, having expanded there in October last year. uberTAXI is available inside the regular Uber app from today, and users simply select it from the list of options — in Hong Kong, it will add on to the company’s existing premium UberBLACK service and UberXL seven-seater option.
What will likely appeal to riders is that Uber won’t be charging any booking fees, and the pricing will follow the same regulated fare going by the cab meter. However, a HK$10 cancellation fee applies if you ditch the booking after five minutes.
The uberTAXI offering itself isn’t new — Uber launched a similar cab service in London in June, at the same time that taxi drivers were protesting against its service. In the same month, Sydney also got the same offering.
However, the rollout of uberTAXI in two major Asian cities one after the other shows that the company is boosting its arsenal with a variety of transportation options, even trespassing into its competitors’ turf, and could see the war between taxi-booking apps heat up even further.
Headline image via David Ramos/Getty Images