Authorities in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou on Thursday raided the local office of online ride-hailing service Uber on suspicion of “unlicensed operation,” seizing a number of mobile phones, the state Xinhua news agency reported.
The crackdown is the latest in a series of legal actions taken against Uber, which has been widely accused of skirting labor regulations in its efforts to seize market share from traditional taxi services.
“The company is suspected of unlicensed operation and conducting illegal business by allowing private car owners to offer taxi services,” an official with the city's traffic authority told Xinhua of the raid.
The official said Uber was not specifically targeted, as the raid was part of a broader crackdown on illegal taxi services by private drivers.
A representative for Uber in China could not be reached for comment by telephone and an email seeking comment was also not responded to. Friday is a national holiday in China.
Uber is a comparative latecomer in China, where taxi-hailing app users are set to triple to 45 million by 2015 compared with 2013, according to Chinese research firm iResearch.
Domestic firms Kuaidi Dache and Didi Dache, backed by tech giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd, respectively, have 90 percent of the market in China sewn up. The two said in February they would merge.
Al Jazeera and Reuters