Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry what are the pre-emptive interventions that the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore is taking to ensure that anti-competitive mergers do not recur in the ride hailing industry in Singapore to the detriment of consumers and drivers.
Written Answer by Minister for Trade & Industry Mr Chan Chun Sing
1. Businesses have a duty to ensure that their conduct and transactions comply with the Competition Act (Cap. 50B). The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) provides avenues for businesses to apply to CCCS to seek clearance on their conduct prior to engaging in any merger or agreement that may be anti-competitive. Should businesses proceed with a potentially anti-competitive merger without CCCS’s prior clearance, CCCS is empowered to impose interim directions to preserve or restore competition and market conditions to protect the public interest. CCCS may also issue the necessary directions to remedy any anti-competitive effects arising from a merger, and impose significant financial penalties.
2. The ride-hail industry specifically, is also regulated by the Land Transport Authority under the Point-to-Point Transport Industry Act 2019 (P2P Act). Under the Act, licenced ride-hail service operators are required to provide LTA with at least 60 days of written notice in the event of : (a) a direct or indirect acquisition of the licencee, and/or (b) the licencee’s direct or indirect acquisition of another licencee under the P2P Act. Both CCCS and LTA have written to parties in the ride hailing industry to remind them of their obligations under the law. The parties have expressed their commitment to comply with the relevant laws and regulations in Singapore. CCCS and LTA will continue to keep a close watch on developments.
3. Ultimately, we need to ensure market contestability. Since the commencement of the new P2P regulatory framework in October 2020, we have several ride-hail service operators – Grab, Gojek, ComfortDelGro, Ryde and Tada Mobility. The new P2P regulatory framework also requires all operators to observe non-exclusivity, which means drivers can choose to provide ride-hail services for multiple platforms. This will substantially reduce entry barriers into the ride-hail industry.