Uber Is Making Friends With Asia’s Taxi Industry

Uber's New CEO Faces Some Big Challenges

Uber Technologies Inc. is embracing the taxi industry in Asia, turning some of its former enemies into allies as it tries to win over customers from Bangkok to Tokyo.

The San Francisco-based company said on Wednesday it will bring Howa’s fleet of 4,000 taxis onto its app so customers in the Thai capital can get a quicker and more convenient ride. It’s the latest partnership for the world’s most valuable startup, which last week struck a deal to sell 51 percent of its Singapore car rental unit to taxi operator ComfortDelGro Corp. for S$295 million ($218 million) in cash.

Uber resumed ride-hailing services in Taiwan in April after facing mounting opposition from local taxi operators and politicians. Six months later, Uber partnered with three taxi companies to offer uberTAXI in Taipei.

In Japan, where it has achieved little since starting operations about four years ago, the company is overhauling leadership and taking a less combative approach with regulators and taxi operators. Uber is now "actively seeking" partnerships with Japanese taxi companies, Brooks Entwistle, chief business officer for the Asia Pacific region, said in Tokyo last month.

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