Gov't Agency Wants Grab, Uber to Explain Uber App's Deactivation

Following Uber Philippines' deactivation of its ride-hailing app, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) is giving both Uber Philippines and Grab Holdings, Inc. until today, April 17, to explain why it has shut down the app despite the agency's insistence to keep it running while it conducts its review of the merger.

"The motu proprio review of the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) shall take its course in pursuit of its mandate. As the antitrust authority, our lens is always focused on the market--in this case, we are reviewing the potential effects on competition in the merger between Grab and Uber in the ride-hailing platform," the agency said in a statement.

"PCC is aware that there are many factors that led to the shutdown of the Uber app. This development may have rendered the review conditions to be less than ideal, however, this move shall not derail the motu proprio review of the Grab-Uber transaction. The parties are given until April 17 to explain why they have failed to continue operating the platform, as required in the Interim Measures Order," the PCC added.

According to the PCC, Grab's acquisition of Uber gives it 93 percent of the ride-hailing market, and while the accreditation of new transport network companies (TNCs) is a welcome development to give passengers more choices, it gives the new TNCs only a seven percent share in the market. The PCC added that Grab's acquisition of Uber gives the former the latter's existing customer base on top of its own, giving it an advantage that a newcomer doesn't have. As such, PCC’s review "will take into consideration these factors to level the playing field in this market."

"The above concerns only strengthen our resolve to pursue the review using the antitrust law. In the end, PCC stands with the passengers to protect them from the perils of monopoly," the agency concluded.

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