SEOUL, March 16 (Korea Bizwire) – Uber, an app-based ride-sharing service provider, has signed a marketing deal with Philippine Airlines in a bid to reach out to South Koreans, officials said Wednesday.
The U.S. transportation firm has been struggling to take root in South Korea, a key Asian economy with a population of more than 50 million.
Uber entered the local market in 2013. But its drive hit a bump last year, when the smartphone-based UberX service, connecting customers with private drivers without a commercial taxi license, was outlawed.
Its surviving cab-hailing app, UberTaxi, has been dwarfed by a brand-new taxi-booking service operated by Kakao Corp., the operator of South Korea’s most popular mobile messenger.
Uber has continued its push for luring South Korean customers.
As part of the efforts, it has decided to launch a joint marketing campaign with the Filipino airliner.
The two sides plan to develop transportation services for South Korean tourists using the Filipino airliner in Manila, Cebu and other regions.’
In the first step, all passengers visiting Manila will be offered a free coupon for the Uber service from March through the end of June.
Currently, thousands of Uber vehicles operate in Manila. Last year, the Filipino government allowed Uber to legally operate anywhere in the nation.
“We hope that the first cooperation between Uber, a front-runner in the sharing economy, and the Philippine Airlines, a leading Filipino airliner, will be useful for South Korean travelers,” said Choi Don-hee, an official at the airliner’s Seoul office. “The two companies will try for convenient and safe trips (for South Koreans).”