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Uber’s International Drive Runs into Headwinds in Turkey

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Jun. 19 2019, Published 7:09 p.m. ET

Turkish taxi drivers resisting Uber

Uber Technologies (UBER) last month suspended its luxury ride-hailing service known as UberXL in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city. UberXL uses larger vans instead of small cars to transport groups of passengers. Uber said that halting its UberXL service in Istanbul was a difficult decision, but declined to disclose the reason behind it.

Since entering the Turkish market in 2014, Uber has faced challenges in the country, mostly resistance from traditional taxi drivers and their unions. Turkish taxi drivers took Uber to court last year, accusing the company of unfair competition and asking that it be kicked out of the market, according to a report from Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah.

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Uber and Didi seeking global dominion

Uber also ran into competitive challenges in Russia and China a few years ago, forcing it to exit or restructure its operations in those markets. In Russia, Uber merged its business in the country with its local rival Yandex (YNDX), forming a joint venture operating as YandexTaxi. In China, Uber surrendered to local rival Didi Chuxing.

Like Uber, Didi Chuxing is also expanding internationally. It owns a stake in Singapore-based ride-hailing service Grab, and last year took a controlling stake in Brazil’s ride-hailing provider 99. In the 99 transaction, Didi bought out investors including Qualcomm (QCOM) from the Brazilian ride-hailing business, Reuters reported. Microsoft (MSFT) and SoftBank (SFTBY) own stakes in Singaporean ride-hailing service Grab. Uber is also into other businesses such as restaurant delivery, but ride-hailing operations account for most of its revenue.

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