Taiwan Business in Brief – November 2019

Food Delivery Platforms Face New Scrutiny

Food delivery online service providers Foodpanda and Uber Eats are in hot water after it was found that the companies either did not adequately report the fatal crashes of two of their delivery drivers, or did not do so in a timely manner. Two incidents in early October involved a 20-year-old Uber Eats driver in Taoyuan and a 29-year-old Foodpanda driver in Taipei respectively.

The crashes and subsequent responses by the companies have raised questions about the employment status of their drivers. Most food delivery platforms hire drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, enabling them to avoid providing labor or health insurance and other benefits. Drivers are expected to complete delivery of each order within a limited amount of time, leading to numerous traffic accidents since the platforms were launched in Taiwan. In response to this issue, legislators on October 15 pressed the Ministry of Labor to clarify the responsibility of food delivery platforms to insure their drivers.

The Sharing Economy Association, Taiwan, to which the food delivery platforms belong, on October 20 met with government officials and industry experts to discuss potential solutions to several safety issues. The next day, the Association announced the drafting of self-disciplinary rules that would apply to all of its members.

Trend Micro Acquires Australian Startup

Taiwanese security software company Trend Micro in October announced acquisition of the Australian startup Cloud Conformity, a software platform that helps monitor and protect clients’ cloud infrastructures, while ensuring compliance with international regulatory standards.

Trend Micro hailed the acquisition as adding complementary capabilities to its already comprehensive cloud security services. Its CEO, Eva Chen, cited Cloud Conformity’s status as Amazon Web Services’ “technology partner of the year” for 2019 as giving it excellent insight into the particular issues and risks connected with implementing cloud computing systems.

Uber Agrees to New Conditions

After months of negotiation between Uber and local officials, the U.S.-based tech company has agreed to adapt its business operations to comply with government policy regarding automobile transportation operators. An amendment to relevant government regulations that was passed in June barred Uber from offering taxi services to the public through partnerships with car rental businesses. Instead, the company has agreed to begin working with local taxi fleets, serving as a technology platform under the government’s multi-purpose taxi plan, which permits transparent, metered pricing administered through mobile apps. In addition, vehicles operating under the plan do not have to be painted yellow.

Current Uber drivers are allowed a grace period to obtain a taxi operator’s license and plates for their vehicles, after which anyone found in violation of the provisions could face fines of between NT$9,000 and NT$90,000. The government has pledged to provide assistance with the application process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *