Uber Eats to withdraw from Korea on Oct. 14

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Uber Eats to withdraw from Korea on Oct. 14

Uber Eats announced it will withdraw from Korea in October after two years of operation in the country.

Uber Eats Korea on Monday announced the news that it will end services on Oct. 14 in an email to customers. The company will continue operating as usual until that date.

“Uber Eats has decided to withdraw the service in Korea after it failed to reach the performance we had expected in the beginning,” confirmed the spokesperson for Uber Eats Korea.

The spokesperson refused to reveal the number of Uber Eats users and its market share in Korea’s food delivery market.

“We will prioritize minimizing the effect [our closing] will have on affiliated restaurants, delivery people and those who have utilized the service,” wrote Uber Eats in an email.

In Korea, Uber Eats aggressively marketed itself in the food delivery market when it arrived in August 2017.

It offered free delivery services and also recruited its own delivery drivers to chase after the dominant player Baedal Minjok (Baemin) and its rival Yogiyo that reportedly control the majority of the local market.

Industry insiders speculate that Baemin accounts for more than 50 percent of the market and Yogiyo controls 30 percent.

After ending its food delivery service, Uber instead plans to strengthen its mobility business in Korea. Uber currently operates a taxi-hailing service in Korea that ranges from offering regular taxis to high end Uber Black and International Taxis that offer translation services for foreigners.

“Uber’s decision is likely derived from the saturated market that is dominated by Baemin and Yogiyo,” said Seo Yong-gu, a professor of business at Sookmyung Women’s University. “Uber Eats failed to make it into the big three in Korea, and likely has decided to branch out to another country where it has a chance to make it in the food delivery market.”

The competition in Korea is likely to become more intense with other companies successively joining the food delivery market. Coupang is offering a trial service of a new food delivery dubbed Coupang Eats, while WeMakePrice in April introduced a similar service that connects restaurants and customers.

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]
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