Uber is being probed for possible criminal activity. Source: Reuters

Uber prices rise by 80pc in Hong Kong

UBER has reportedly increased their Hong Kong fares by 80 percent as it reconsiders its Asia Pacific strategy in the face of stiff competition in the ride-hailing space.

The announcement that ride prices would go up in the harbor city follows closely on the heels of news that neighboring city Macau has lost Uber services for the second time. The price rise is not a result of financial problems, the company told Reuters, but is rather part of an effort to improve benefits for drivers.

The affected services include UberX and UberASSIST, where rides would start at HK$45 (US$5.75) per ride, whereas UberBLACK, its premium service, will begin charging from HK$65 (US$8.30). Uber said in a statement that the adjustment was “based on an evaluation of the marketplace in Hong Kong.”

Uber has had a rocky time in Hong Kong where they’ve run into legal problems with local authorities. Operations have been clamped down several times, such as a case in May where 21 drivers were arrested and charged for illegal car-hiring. Each driver was fined HK$10,000, and Uber said that they would be offering them help with their appeals.

SEE ALSO: Philippines: Uber riders frustrated with app’s month-long suspension

Uber was recently banned in the Philippines where it was dubbed a “colorum” operation and immediately suspended. The company is also facing regulatory scrutiny Japan and South Korea.

Uber is facing a lot of competition with well-funded rivals in the Asia Pacific region. The company famously sold its China operations to dominant Didi Chuxing when it became evident that the Chinese giant had outspent it. Southeast Asian Grab recently became the region’s most valuable startup when it raised a startling US$2 billion from Didi and Softbank Group.