By Borisz Priszjazsnyuk
Different international companies try to enter the Hungarian market. We can see the presence of companies, such as Uber, Airbnb and Lime in all the capitals of the world. At first, they seem like great ideas. However, there are cons to these companies as well. The first company that came to Hungary was Uber. A San Francisco-based firm that provided a taxi-like service. Their strength was that anyone could become an Uber driver if they owned a car and downloaded the required application. However, the Hungarian taxi drivers were displeased.
Uber did not follow the regulations and started to put the Hungarian taxi drivers out of business. The Uber drivers did not need to paint their cars yellow, nor did they have to pay the same tax. The drivers did not have time restrictions, they could work anytime they wanted and the services were cheaper than the Hungarian taxis. The customers quickly switched to Uber and the Hungarian taxi drivers started to literally fight back. At first, they were trapping the Uber drivers and causing physical harm to them. Then protests started, they blocked the Elizabeth bridge using the taxis, causing massive traffic jams in the center of Budapest. In the end, the taxi drivers won the battle, gained their customers back, and made Uber disappear from the country.
Later, another successful business called Airbnb entered Hungary. In a lot of ways it is similar to Uber, as it allows people to earn some extra money on the side. It is a platform that gives access to people to rent out their room, apartment, or house. It is also great for tourists who prefer to blend in with the environment of the city, instead of staying in overpriced hotels. It also offers a wide range of prices depending on the type of accommodation. However, it has a downside just like Uber. More and more people turn their rental properties to Airbnb because it’s more profitable to earn 20.000 HUF a day than 150.000 HUF a month – thus making it harder for people to find housing. The other problem occurs when the Airbnb guests get loud in the apartment building giving a hard time to the locals that reside there. On a bigger scale, the popularity of the company grew so much that it started competing with hotels by taking a massive part of their customer base. However, most of these problems did not exist for too long. The Hungarian government decided to heavily tax the daily rental services so much so that it became difficult for the host to operate the service with an easy profit. Due to this, it left no other option but to turn back to long-term contracts for lower prices. There are also speculations that short-term rentals might be restricted but there is no further information on this yet.
These businesses have both pros and cons, making it hard to find people who are on both sides of the argument as it has created opportunities for people on either side of the debate. On the other hand, it damages bigger businesses like hotels or taxi companies. There is no doubt that these businesses brought along some troubles whilst helping many people to earn some money, and for some even start a job. All you need is a smartphone.