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Hello, again: Uber sets up Asia-Pacific hub in Singapore; no plans to resume services in S-E Asia

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About a year after its exit from South-east Asia, US ride-hailing giant Uber launched its Asia-Pacific hub in Singapore on Tuesday, with plans to expand headcount here.

ABOUT a year after its exit from South-east Asia, US ride-hailing giant Uber launched its Asia-Pacific hub in Singapore on Tuesday, with plans to expand headcount here.

However, there are no immediate plans to relaunch any of its services in South-east Asia, said a company spokesman at a media briefing. 

Located at a single-storey office in Frasers Tower, the Asia-Pacific hub houses about 165 employees in roles including public affairs, finance and marketing. 

The company's regional operations here are not new: Uber has maintained an Asia-Pacific office in Singapore since 2016, which was retained even after the merger of its South-east Asian business with former rival Grab last year. 

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The majority of its 165 employees here were also retained even after the merger, said the spokesman. 

But Uber is now officially launching and beefing up this regional hub to better tap the "amazing" talent pool here and service its nine Asia-Pacific markets in ride-hailing, food delivery and other upcoming business verticals, said the spokesman. 

Its operational Asia-Pacific markets are: India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. 

When asked why Uber is not relocating its regional office to an operational market instead, the spokesman said that the company has done its due diligence and finds Singapore ideal as a talent hub. 

Looking ahead, Uber will be hiring both specialist and entry-level talent in the Republic in a range of roles in regional business teams and corporate functions, she added, declining to reveal targeted numbers. 

The move comes amid widespread anticipation of Uber's planned public listing, following that of its US rival Lyft. The spokesman declined to comment if the Singapore expansion is linked to plans for an IPO (initial public offering). 

Earlier on Tuesday, The Straits Times reported that the S$6.58 million fine Uber faces following its merger with Grab last year has been suspended, pending the company's appeal with the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore. 

The Uber spokesman declined to comment on this development.