Uber for Business rolls out in South-East Asia
By A. Asohan October 2, 2014
- Companies can set up Uber accounts with centralised billing, helps manage budgets
- Now in every city Uber is in, including in Malaysia where it faces regulatory hurdles
SAN Francisco-based car-ride service startup Uber has rolled out its ‘Uber for Business’ offering in South-East Asia, even as it faces a crackdown in Malaysia for allegedly failing to ensure its drivers have the proper commercial permits.
The company first launched Uber for Business in July in Canada, France, the United Kingdom and United States.
“With today’s announcement, Uber for Business (U4B) is available in all 45 countries Uber is available in,” said regional general manager Michael Brown.
“Now you can ride with U4B in any Uber city anywhere in the world – this means in every city we are in across South-East Asia as well,” he told Digital News Asia (DNA) via email.
A check with its website shows that the company has services in South-East Asian cities like Bangkok, Jakarta, Johor Baru, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Singapore.
In Malaysia, where it first launched in January, the company has run afoul of taxi companies and drivers who have complained that its services are endangering their livelihood.
In response, the authorities have declared that starting Oct 1, they would be cracking down on drivers without the proper permits, raising a public outcry from consumers who use its services.
Meanwhile, U4B is a dedicated platform that enables small and mid-sized companies to set up an Uber account with a centralised billing system and maintain a travel dashboard that business administrators can view and use to manage budgets, and at no cost, Uber said in a statement.
Companies can allow employees to bill to a single card on file rather than activating multiple company credit cards or requiring reimbursements.
Employees have access to this new payment option in their Uber app, and would not need file expenses with paper receipts.
With products offered at every price point, employees can travel while staying within every company’s budget. With its low-cost UberX service in Singapore, that could mean savings of 20% to 30% compared with a taxi, the company said in its statement announcing the new service.
Uber also said that even before it was launched, companies have been asking for the U4B service and signing up. Singapore is already the biggest U4B market in South-East Asia, it added.
When asked to quantify the last statement, and to compare Singapore with other South-East Asian markets, Brown (pic) told DNA “We’ve had a fantastic response from clients in the region.”
“What this means is that Singapore is already U4B's largest market in South-East Asia with more than half of our total fares in the region. Unfortunately, we are not able to share specific figures for this,” he said.
When asked how many companies have signed up, and its target for the first year, Brown would only say that “We’ve had a very good response during our test phase in Singapore, Malaysia and other markets.
“With the clear benefits U4B brings to businesses and business travellers, we are certain many more companies will sign up for U4B in the near future,” he said.
“U4B enables businesses big and small to provide employees with a global passport to ensure they get safe, reliable and incredibly inexpensive transport in their home city and wherever they travel.
“In nearly every city in the world where Uber operates, Uber's technology enables the safest and most affordable transport options. That means businesses are cutting land transport budgets by 20% or more when they adopt U4B,” he claimed.
To learn more and sign up for an Uber for Business account, go here.
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