One of the most interesting disruption sagas of our age has to be that of the taxi industry. There seems to be no market in the world where the likes of Uber, Lyft and Hailo have managed to permeate without regulatory slap-downs, consumer backlash or even without violence.
Asia is no different and today Techcrunch revealed that Easy Taxi, a service used in almost 420 cities worldwide at its peak, is pulling out of the region.
The business had already started to pull out of the region in 2014 when it exited India. Over the past year it left Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. The remaining regions from its 20-strong APAC presence will now close.
Instead the South America-based business is going to concentrate on home turf. In an email to Techcrunch, Paul Malicki, Easy Taxi global chief marketing officer, said: “Easy Taxi is now focusing on Latin America - a region with significantly higher GMV and more favorable regulatory environment.”
Easy Taxi is reducing its international coverage despite having raised more than $75m from investors including Rocket Internet. While this seems like a significant investment, it pales compared to Uber, which has announced $1bn investment into India, as well as launching in Korea, Japan and South East Asia.
There is also a lot of homegrown success for taxi apps, for example South East Asia’s raised $250m from SoftBank in 2014, creating a heavily competitive environment for taxi apps in the region.