Uber is not going to build a $40 million safety and support center in Colombia after all, citing regulatory restrictions.
Reuters is reporting that the center was going to be the ridesharing company’s third in Latin America. Uber is also illegal in the country, even though it is widely used. The company has been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for its obstruction of a 2017 regulatory visit.
The proposed center was supposed to open in 2020, and it would have provided about 600 jobs.
“After six years looking for avenues for dialogue and in the absence of a roadmap to advance regulatory stability and legal security, we regret that we will need to relocate the destination of the investment,” said Nicolas Pardo, Uber’s Colombian general manager.
There are 2 million Uber users and 88,000 drivers in the country. Uber claims regulation in 80 different jurisdictions in Latin America. Recently, Colombia’s constitutional court decided that Uber drivers’ licenses can only be suspended for three years, instead of 25.
Recently, Uber announced that it was going to spend the next decade focusing on emerging markets. Despite issues the company faced getting a foothold in places like China and Southeast Asia, the company views emerging markets as places of growth. Especially India.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said he realizes India is a tough market with a lot of competition, but that its “profitability characteristics” are getting better.
“If I look at Uber’s growth over the next 10 years, it’s going to be defined by markets like India, Africa and the Middle East more so than the developed markets such as the U.S. and Europe,” Khosrowshahi said.
Uber’s biggest market is the United States, but even there it has to compete with Lyft, which is also a sizeable ridesharing company. When reporting its Q2 results in August, Uber showed another loss. It has yet to be profitable, despite years of funding as a private company.