Considering how much business Uber does in China, it's kind of hard to imagine that ride-hailing apps aren't exactly legal in the country. Well, they weren't, but they're about to be. Chinese regulators have passed a new law that clears up the legal grey area companies like Uber and Didi Chuxing operate in. Starting on November 1st, ride-hailing apps will be legal, so long as they follow a few rules.
Specifically, the new regulations outline requirements for drivers -- who must be licensed by local taxi regulators, have no criminal record and have at least three years experience behind the wheel. They also need to drive a car with fewer than 370,000 miles on the odometer. The ride-sharing companies themselves will have to acquire local taxi licenses to comply with the new laws, which still need to be adopted by local cities and provinces.
Despite this easing of regulations, there's still some work to do: ride-sharing companies will need to acquire new licenses to comply with the new law, which itself needs to be adopted by local cities and provinces. That shouldn't be too much trouble, though -- Baidu is likely to go to the plate for Uber in negotiations with officials, and Didi is already appealing to local governments to adopt "market-driven approaches that encourage innovation."
Despite some concerns on Didi's part about the authority given to local taxi administrations, both companies seem optimistic about the new law. "We believe the Rules will usher in a new stage of growth for China's online ride-booking ecosystem," Didi said in a statement. Uber similarly endorsed the move. "This is a welcome step in a country that has consistently shown itself to be forward-thinking when it comes to innovation."