Uber opens Asia-Pacific hub in Singapore, no plans to relaunch services in South-east Asia

It has been just a little over a year since the prominent American ride-hailing firm Uber stopped operating in Singapore and South-east Asian countries but now it has declared its return to the Republic through the opening of its Asia-Pacific hub on Tuesday (2 April) at Frasers Towers, in Cecil Street.

The new 2,000 sq/m office overlooking the Central Business District is headed by Uber’s international chief business officer Brooks Entwistle to oversee the firm’s operations in nine countries across the region, including Australia, Bangladesh and Japan.

According to Uber’s Asia-Pacific senior director for policy and communications Amy Kunrojpanya, Uber desires to maintain its regional hub in Singapore as it is an “amazing hub for talent”.

She also told Straits Times that the firm’s experience in Singapore has impacted business elsewhere such as to partner with taxi companies in countries like Japan, in line with the longer-term strategy and collaborative approach taken by chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi.

Notwithstanding, Uber will not be resuming its services in Singapore or South-east Asia anytime soon.

Currently, Uber has employed 165 people in areas of marketing, strategy and planning at the Singapore office with plans to hire more, listing 17 job openings on its website.

Uber was first launched in Singapore in 2014 and by late 2017, they partnered with local taxi giant ComfortDelGro which was later dissolved following the merger with Grab.

In March last year, Uber announced that its South-east Asian business would be acquired by Grab, in exchange for a 27.5 per cent stake in Grab and a seat on the Singapore-based firm’s board.

The US$120 billion (S$162.7 billion) firm is said to be eyeing a public listing in the first half of this year. However, it has not been confirmed if Uber would follow in American ride-hailing rival Lyft’s footsteps in launching an initial public offering (IPO).

On a separate note, Straits Times also reported on Tuesday that the $6.58 million fine imposed on Uber following its merger with Grab last year has been suspended, pending Uber’s appeal against the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore’s ruling that the deal was anti-competitive.