Taxi license prices dive 12 percent under Uber shadow

September 24, 2015 12:33
Red (city) taxi license prices have doubled from HK$3.32 million since the 2008 financial crisis. However prices have fallen sharply since their peak in May. Photo: HKEJ

Hong Kong taxi licenses have fallen to HK$6.4 million (US$825,802), down nearly 12 percent from their peak in May.

Taxi groups are blaming the fall on ride-hailing company Uber, which has rattled the industry since it entered the market more than a year ago, am730 reports.

The situation is being exacerbated by uncertainty over government policy, a taxi company manager said.  

“We still don’t know the government’s attitude on this issue and the uncertainty is continuing," Chan Cho-kin, manager of Golden Way Motors, said.

"Some owners have decided to underweight their holding.”

The price of a taxi license hit HK$7.25 million in May and has fallen steadily, according to figures from transaction website

Uber has triggered a dispute over its status in Hong Kong but the government has yet to rule whether its business is legal.

Chan said the uncertainty is affecting the stock market and causing panic selling of taxi licenses.

He said it happened when the Hang Seng Index lost 1,000 points in a single day.

"The transaction volume jumped 20 percent on that day. The lowest price for a taxi license was HK$6.4 million,” Chan said.

Economist Andy Kwan expects taxi permits to drop another HK$1 million to HK$1.5 million if Uber is legalized.

Chinese University of Hong Kong professor Leo Sin said taxi license prices have been climbing since the government stopped issuing new permits in 1998.

Red (city) taxi license prices have doubled from HK$3.32 million since the 2008 financial crisis, he said.

But Uber and other car-hailing operators have changed the market.

“Passengers now know that taxis are not the only choice,” Sin said.

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