Uber has been operating in China for years, but it wasn’t strictly legal. A new law passed Thursday officially sanctioned Uber and other ride-hailing companies in the country.
The law gives the official go-ahead to Uber, but also imposes new rules for drivers. According to the New York Times, drivers must have three years’ experience, no criminal record and a license from a local taxi regulator.
The cars are now regulated too: more than about 370,000 miles makes a car ineligible for use through Uber, and cars must have GPS tracking.
Uber operates in 60 cities in China and plans to reach 100 by the end of the year. The exact enforcement of this law will fall to those individual cities and provinces, the company said in a blog post.
“This is a welcome step in a country that has consistently shown itself to be forward-thinking when it comes to innovation,” Uber’s senior vice president for corporate strategy for its Chinese apparatus, Zhen Liu, wrote in the blog post.
Uber China is regulation-ready, and we look forward to working with policy makers around the country to put these regulations into practice,” he added in a statement.
The regulations represent a step back from stricter proposals presented earlier, including one that would have banned private cars from the services entirely.
The law will also apply to Uber’s main competitor, Didi Chuxing. The two ride-hailing companies have sparred over the vast Chinese market, with Didi Chuxing in the lead. Uber investors have even urged the company to come to some sort of agreement with Didi Chuxing and stop spending so much money in the region.
Apple invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing in May, and the company was valued at $28 billion.
The law takes effect in November, so Uber and Didi Chuxing have a little while to prepare to meet the new regulations.
And now, at least, they know they’re kosher in China.