November 11, 2015 / 1:00 AM / in 3 years

Uber to relaunch premium taxi service in South Korea

SEOUL (Reuters) - Ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] on Wednesday said it will relaunch a premium taxi service in South Korea’s capital this year, hoping to revamp its brand in Asia’s fourth-largest economy after running foul of regulators.

The logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone over a reserved lane for taxis in a street is seen in this photo illustration taken in Madrid on December 10, 2014. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

The UberBLACK service was being relaunched after the South Korean government eased regulations to pave the way for high-end taxi services, the U.S. company said.

Parliament earlier this year banned services like UberX, which match customers with private drivers who do not have a commercial taxi license.

Uber had since been offering two services in South Korea: uberTaxi, which matches users with licensed taxi drivers, and the upscale UberBLACK service.

UberBLACK was limited to a small group of qualifying passengers, including those with disabilities and foreigners, until Uber suspended it this week to get it ready for the general public.

The new premium service in Seoul will only involve commercially licensed drivers, Uber said.

Drivers for Uber’s new service will get discounts on Kia Motors Corp’s K9 sedans as part of an agreement between the carmaker and Uber.

Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Stephen Coates

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