New CEO says Uber Vietnam will not be distracted by criticism

By Anh Tu   October 20, 2017 | 11:22 am GMT+7

Traditional taxi firms have been protesting against Uber and Grab, accusing the ride-hailing apps of unfair competition.

Uber Vietnam on Thursday said the company would focus on growing and serving its partners and passengers and would not be distracted by criticism, following protests and accusations of foul play by traditional taxi firms.

Tom White, the company's newly appointed CEO, issued the statement during a press briefing at the unveiling of Uber Vietnam's new partner support center in Hanoi.

“My focus […] would be to serve them as best as I possibly can and not be distracted by criticisms about this,” he said.

Uber Vietnam's key objective instead would be to further expand across the market and reach an even greater number of riders and drivers.

“There have been millions of app downloads here in Vietnam and we're only scratching the surface of what's possible.”

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Tom White, the new CEO of Uber Vietnam, at a press briefing on Thursday. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Tu

Regarding his appointment as the new CEO of Uber Vietnam, White said his experience working for Uber in Australia had played a role in the decision. As one of its earliest members, he helped build the company there from scratch and forged a strong and trusting relationship with the Australian government.

Stressing reputation as a precious asset for Uber, White said he would prioritize building and maintaining trust with the Vietnamese government.

While admitting he had much to learn after moving from Australia to Vietnam, White also said he hoped to be able to work with the government to make policies more open and regulations more fair across all platforms for companies to compete and allow consumers to benefit from the competition.

Regarding Ho Chi Minh City's demand last month for VND66.68 billion ($2.93 million) in tax arrears, White said that the company firmly believed it had met all its tax obligations and complied with government regulations.

Tom White is an Australian who joined Uber in January 2015 and held various management positions in Uber Australia and New Zealand. He was appointed as the new CEO of Uber Vietnam earlier this month following his predecessor Dang Viet Dung's departure.

Dung, who had been Uber Vietnam's CEO since the U.S.-based firm first entered the country in 2014, left the company on October 1, but no information about the reasons for his departure has been revealed.

His departure triggered speculation that Uber Vietnam was in a crisis, especially after a recent tax scandal.

Late last month, tax authorities in Ho Chi Minh City demanded VND66.68 billion ($2.93 million) in arrears from Uber Vietnam, including fines for faulty declarations and late payments.

Following the incident, rumors started to spread that Uber would be leaving Vietnam. The company was quick to dismiss this.

As of August, Uber had four million users in Vietnam, according to official company data.

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