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What’s behind the “cost-effective” service of “call an Uber”?

If you happen to need an Uber and want to save expenses in China these days, you can search “Youbu Daijiao” (or “call an Uber” in English) and will probably find many seemingly cost-effective services.

According to a report by Chinese tech news website Sina Tech on Tuesday, one of these merchants offered them a RMB 45 (USD 6.8) service, which allowed them to call an Uber in any city of China without limits on the traveling distance or passenger number.

In fact, there are many more merchants offering this kind of service at even lower prices—much lower than the cost when you call an Uber yourself. But there is no free lunch, and how is that even possible?

Sina Tech said it is nothing but hacking. Hackers managed to hack into the Uber users’ accounts, especially those bound with bank cards, allowing the hackers to use these stolen accounts to call an Uber and pay the bill. Some unseemly merchants buy these accounts from the hackers, and offer low-cost services, using wechat money transfers to unnoficially settle the “bill”.

The actual practices of this service may become more complicated. But the fact is, the low prices are so attractive to many passengers that this has grown into an industry.

According to data released one week ago, Uber China is achieving 30 million orders per month, and is about to enter ther 60th city in China.

Uber China was not able to be reached for comment on Tuesday.

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