S Korea passes bill limiting Softbank-backed ride-hailing service Tada

FILE PHOTO - SoftBank Corp. placard is prepared during a ceremony to mark the company's debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo, Japan, December 19, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

South Korea‘s parliament on late Friday passed a controversial bill to limit ridehailing service Tada, dealing a blow to a company that has been a smash hit since its launch in late 2018 but faced a backlash from taxi drivers angry over new mobility services.

South Korea‘s National Assembly passed a revised passenger transport service act requiring rental vans with 11 to 15 seats for tour purposes to be used for at least six hours and that they be rented or returned at airports or seaports.

A current law bars rental car services from offering drivers, with the exception of vans with 11 to 15 seats – which are provided by Tada.

South Korea restricts ridehailing to only licensed taxis and bans the use of private cars for the purpose. Tada has been exploiting a rule that allows the rental of chauffer-driven 11-seaters to operate its ridehailing services, drawing fierce opposition from the taxi lobby and regulators.

The passage of the bill comes after Tada was cleared of transport law violations in court in mid-February. Prosecutors had sought one-year jail terms for executives of Tada and its parent firm Socar, arguing Tada was a de facto unlicensed taxi service.

Following the passage of the bill, Lee Jae-woong, an entrepreneur and head of Tada‘s parent company, said on Facebook he would halt Tada‘s services and apologised to users, while asking who would dare to challenge and nurture innovative startups in the country.

The revised law is set to take effect 18 months after it is proclaimed.

Tada, launched in October 2018, has won 1.7 million users as it capitalised on growing demand and the funding muscle of its Japanese backer SoftBank Group Corp.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.