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Uber, already in 400 cities, just formed a global policy board

The board will help the company navigate international markets and regulators.

Warren Little / Getty Images

Earlier this week, Uber convened the first meeting of an eight-person public policy advisory board that it formed in order to discuss regulatory issues plaguing the company around the world.

It includes a who’s who of high-powered municipal leaders with local expertise, from former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to former European Union antitrust commissioner Neelie Kroes.

The formation of the board comes years after Uber began expanding outside of the U.S. into India, China and the European Union and so-called “second-tier” markets like Latin America and the Middle East.

So, why now?

Forming this advisory board is tacit acknowledgment on Uber’s part that its playbook of entering a market without express permission may not be as well-received as the company initially hoped and also isn’t conducive to a long-term, smooth-running operation. Achieving that, as Uber adviser David Plouffe noted in the announcement, requires more collaboration between local governments and Uber.

Though Uber operates in more than 400 cities, it has faced regulatory hurdles. And in some places the company operates, ride-hailing is still not legal.

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