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Vietnam to launch taxi apps to challenge Uber

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The logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone over a reserved lane for taxis. (Photo: Reuters)

HO CHI MINH CITY, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) — To face with the expansion of taxi apps Uber, GrabTaxi and EasyTaxi in Vietnam, the Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City Department of Science and Technology has introduced the locally-made taxi app, LiveTaxi, state-run Vietnam News Agency reported Friday.

The app will help passengers find a taxi, and monitor their journey, distance and traveling cost on smartphones via the internet and SMS. Initial success was reported after it was tested in HCM City.

Local authorities said that when the domestic-made LiveTaxi is launched and applied widely, it will be the main competitor of Uber in Vietnam, and HCM City will be the first region in Vietnam where the app is launched.

According to Doan Le Minh, Director of Huy Hoang Company, which was assigned to develop the LiveTaxi app, the app could be launched even when travelers do not have an Internet or 3G connection.

The Uber network was launched in 2009 and operates in 232 cities in 50 countries. It began in Vietnam in July this year, rapidly expanding in HCM City by beating established taxi services on both price and availability. It has come to capital Hanoi since October.

Those using the Uber network pay on average about 20 percent less than regular cab fares, but are required to use international currency cards such as MasterCard and Visa. In turn, the vehicle owner pays a 20 percent commission to Uber.

An official from the HCM City Department of Transport said that two major taxi companies in the city, Mai Linh and Vinasun, have also begun researching taxi-app information.

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