Anti-Uber protests flare in Argentina as firm prepares IPO filing
Taxi drivers took to the streets of Buenos Aires on Thursday to protest against Uber, underscoring the challenges the ride-hailing giant faces in the fast-growing Latin American market as it prepares to file a much-anticipated initial public offering, Trend reports with reference to Reuters.
Argentina’s powerful taxi unions walked in procession through the center of the capital to begin two days of protests against Uber, which faces competition and regulatory hurdles in a region where it often operates in a legal gray area.
Uber is expected to make its initial public offering registration on Thursday that could see it sell around $10 billion worth of stock, Reuters reported earlier this week, which would make it one of the largest tech IPOs of all time.
The Buenos Aires protest underscores a simmering anger among taxi drivers in the city against the service. Uber drivers are able to undercut on prices, helping steal away consumers hungry for ride-hailing alternatives with competitive fares.
Around Latin America, Uber also faces more rivals, including Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, and faces pressure to cut driver subsidies to bolster profits.
“I see the biggest threats outside of competition being from regulation and a potential backlash against Uber as payouts to drivers continue to fall,” said Nathan Lustig, managing partner of Magma Partners, a Latin America-based venture capital fund.
Argentina’s capital city lacks a specific regulatory framework for Uber, but the firm maintains it obeys the country’s laws and pays taxes, and wants cities to pass ride-hailing regulations.
In neighboring Chile, Uber faces similar issues, with drivers often looking to avoid detection.
Other Latin American markets, including Mexico City in Mexico, Rio de Janeiro and San Pablo in Brazil, and La Paz in Bolivia, have adopted specific regulations that enable the use of apps for transporting passengers, giving the green light to Uber, the firm said.