Over 20,000 Vietnamese work as Uber motorbike drivers

By Vien Thong   May 29, 2017 | 01:40 pm GMT+7
Over 20,000 Vietnamese work as Uber motorbike drivers
A photo illustration shows the Uber app logo displayed on a mobile telephone. Photo by Reuters/Toby Melville

The ride hailing company releases business data for the first time, one year after launching its motorbike service in Vietnam.

More than 20,000 Vietnamese men and women have registered to work as motorbike taxi drivers for Uber, a representative of the ride hailing company said Sunday. 

Dang Viet Dung, general manager of Uber Vietnam, did not break down the number but he seemed eager to share that the top motorbike drivers clocked in more than 5,000 rides within a year.

This is the first time the company, since the launch of UberMOTO in April last year, has released such figures. It also has a network of cars for the traditional Uber service.

For future plan, Uber will offer English courses for its drivers to serve foreigners in Vietnam, Dung said.

Before Vietnam, the UberMOTO service had been launched in Thailand, India and Indonesia.

After Uber entered Vietnam in June 2014, collecting tax from for the U.S.-based car hailing service had been a headache for local authorities.

Then in September last year, Uber paid taxes to Vietnam for the first time.

In April this year Uber's car and motorbike services were finally legalized here, even though local passengers rarely paid attention to these legal formalities.

Before Uber, Vietnam’s transport authorities approved a pilot scheme for Grab Vietnam, Uber's main rival, which also entered Vietnam in 2014.

The Malaysia-based Grab is operating both car and motorbike services in the country.

Their market shares have not been disclosed but other service providers, from taxi companies to xe om drivers, have felt threatened.

VnExpress earlier this year interviewed motorcyle taxi drivers, who said they were being beaten by Uber and Grab on their own turf.

Some even predicted that these newcomers could eventually put old-fashioned drivers, now usually referred to as "traditional" drivers, out of business.

This month, a video spread on social media showing a group of xe om drivers in a heated conflict with Grab drivers in front of a hospital in Hanoi.