China made history with its decision this past July (2016) which set forth plans to legalize ride-hailing services such as Uber and China’s Didi Chuxing—which has since acquired Uber’s Chinese operations. The announced policies were perceived as surprisingly permissive by business in the industry and were seen as a strong signal of support on the Chinese government’s behalf for the development of this burgeoning industry. However, the enthusiastically received national-level legislation, set to come into force on November 1st, was soon countered by local legislation in several major cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Shenzhen which set far stricter requirements on those drivers operating vehicles for ride-hailing services.

These city-level efforts, introduced in waves beginning in October, call for drivers to meet a series of requirements which are seen to heavily limit entry into the market and rule out a considerable portion of the drivers in any given city. The requirements demand that drivers have local residential permits and licenses, a considerable challenge in major Chinese cities where license plates are strictly regulated to control the number of vehicles on streets, and are feared to effectively rule out smaller operators and limiting the industry to higher-end vehicles.

Despite concerns, many in the industry remain cautiously hopeful for the future as the coming months will eventually reveal how stringent local legislators in these major cities remain on the restrictive regulations.

Bloomberg reports on the proposed legislation in July, 2016

A VOA report on the conflict between the two levels 

China Daily assesses the tougher restrictions 

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