US-based Uber officially launched its ride-sharing service in Cambodia yesterday, making good on its expansion plans in Asia.
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According to Uber, Cambodia is the first country in Asia to implement a dedicated ride-sharing framework even before the company’s services were launched. Cambodia is now the 78th country in the world where Uber is available.
Uber’s Asia Pacific chief business officer, Brooks Entwistle, said that Uber is the new modern transportation solution for Cambodia.
“Cambodians can now just press a button on their smartphone to get a safe, reliable and affordable ride,” Mr Entwistle said.
Mr Entwistle, a former chairman of Goldman Sachs Southeast Asia, said: “We are very excited to launch ride-sharing technology in Cambodia, to serve riders, driver-partners and the city of Phnom Penh.”
“On the driver side we continue to bring onboard tremendously talented driver partners and we are excited to be looking for more talented drivers to join us.”
Uber for the moment, he said, will focus on Phnom Penh.
“When there is more demand in other provinces, we will expand,” added Mr Entwistle.
“We do this in every city. We first make sure that we provide the products for riders and opportunities for drivers, before we think about where we will move on next.”
Mr Entwistle said Uber was working closely with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport on regulations to ensure “riders were kept safe and secure”.
Pheng Sovicheano, secretary of state of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, confirmed that the ministry had been working with Uber for the past six months to develop “a safe, reliable, and modern transport system”.
“We are asking Uber to work with the ministry to improve background checks on drivers to ensure public safety and security,” Mr Sovicheano said.
William A Heidt, US Ambassador to Cambodia, said that Uber brought innovative technology to Cambodia to provide new transport options for passengers and economic opportunities for drivers.
“This is a great example of the private sector working closely with the Cambodian government to embrace new technology,” he added.
According to a 2016 Google report, Southeast Asia’s ride-sharing and taxi on-demand service could hit $13 billion by 2025 with 29 million monthly riders – up from an estimated 7.3 million now – growing at 18 percent per year.