UberEats Restaurant Delivery Service Launches in Seoul
Ride-hailing firm Uber has launched UberEats in Seoul amid their ongoing discussions with local authorities to fully resume the company’s flagship ride-hailing service. Initially the service will only be available in Itaewon and Gangnam while gradually expanding to other areas in Seoul.
The UberEats service is currently available in 112 cities across 28 countries, where it has 60,000 restaurant partners according to Uber.
During a press briefing Allen Penn, head of UberEATS for APAC, said over 200 restaurants in Seoul have signed up to partner –with 60 percent of those offering food deliver for the first time.
Before UberEats, Uber’s presence in South Korea was nearly non-existent after it scrapped the UberX service in 2015 following strong criticism by local taxi drivers and the government in Seoul. Uber was eventually fined $8,756 for violating a transport law.
At the time, South Korean prosecutors went as far as indicting the founder of Uber, Travis Kalanick, for operating an illegal taxi service in the country –a charge that would have seen Kalanick, had he landed in Seoul, facing up to a 20 million won ($17,400) fine, or up to two years in jail.
Analysts predict that South Korea, which has one of the most developed mobile services economies in the world, will make it difficult for UberEats to establish a sizable marketshare there.
Even Penn acknowledged the challenge:
“Food delivery services is very advanced in Korea and Koreans use food delivery a lot,” said Penn. “I feel like we are still at the beginning of food delivery service… but we believe we could bring new customers and new restaurant with a number of the technological features such as consistent reliability, speed of delivery and real-time order tracking.”
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