World News

China's Didi partners with SoftBank to launch taxi-hailing services in Japan

China's Didi partners with SoftBank to launch taxi-hailing services in Japan

In Japan, companies that specialize in ride-hailing face very strict rules that in effect bar drivers that are non-professional from offering any taxi services due to safety, and can only provide services which match users to existing fleets of taxis via a mobile platform.

The auto giant said it will invest 7.5 billion JPY ($69 billion) into JapanTaxi, an Uber-like service that is owned by Ichiro Kawanabe, who runs Japan's largest taxi operator Nihon Kotsu and heads up the country's taxi federation. The two companies expect to launch a joint venture in Japan soon with plans to start pilot programs in Osaka, Kyoto, Fukuoka, Tokyo and other locations this year.

Didi and SoftBank would look into local market conditions and policies, and will engage with industry practitioners, policymakers, and other stakeholders, as they aim to create an open and large-scale platform accessible to every taxi operators in Japan.

More news: DEP fines Sunoco $12.6 million, lifts pipeline suspension

Didi has expanded rapidly overseas the a year ago since ensuring its dominance in China after purchasing the local unit of Uber in 2016 that ended a battle with the US company that cost Uber close to $2 billion. However, it is said to account for less than one percent of Tokyo's taxi market.

Line, the messaging app company, has been the most successful new entrant with its Uber-like ride-hailing service, but Japanese taxi companies have adapted to the competition by bringing on-demand features their services, as the Financial Times recently reported. The company continues to apply its big data capabilities to increase taxi drivers' work efficiency and income. DiDi is also working closely with taxi companies to help them build intelligent IT and driver management systems. This partnership between DiDi and SoftBank demonstrates one such effort.

Didi now dominates its home market, on account of its acquisition of Uber China.


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