Uber CEO says Brazil investment hinges on regulations: paper

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SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc’s [UBER.UL] level of investment in Brazil will depend on how regulations evolve, but the ride-hailing firm is more dedicated to the market than its main rivals, Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi told a newspaper.

Khosrowshahi defended regulations governing ride-hailing apps approved by the Brazilian Senate in October in an interview published on Tuesday in Folha de São Paulo, and stressed the importance of the bill passing in a workable form in the country’s lower house.

“To the extent that it’s possible, we’re going to continue investing in Brazil. The investment level, obviously, will depend on that regulation,” he said.

“The text that the Senate sent to the lower house reflects the appropriate balance.”

The unmodified rules would have required all drivers to be registered with their local municipalities, creating bureaucratic hurdles, the company said.

Brazil is Uber’s second biggest market, but the app has had to lobby the country’s legislators hard to avoid crippling regulations. In late October, the Senate passed amended rules, after Uber said the original version of a bill governing the apps would have jeopardized the future of the company there.

In January, Uber competitor Didi Chuxing of China agreed to acquire control of Brazilian ride-hailing app 99, potentially creating a formidable rival to Uber in Brazil.

In the interview, Khosrowshahi said Uber was the company most dedicated to the national market.

“We respect 99 and Didi’s investment, their competitive position, but I don’t think that they have been as dedicated to Brazil for as much time as us,” he said.

Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe