Didi to have a go at Japan's tough taxi and ride-hailing market
Didi said it has set up a joint-venture with SoftBank called Didi Mobility Japan Corp and aims to roll out the service starting in autumn this year.
Didi aims to launch the ride-matching app for riders, drivers and taxi operators in Osaka, Kyoto, Fukuoka, Tokyo and other major Japanese cities.
The Chinese mobility service provider has been keen on overseas expansion in recent years and entered into a number of partnerships to drive synergies using its local business and technology capability.
"We look forward to developing extensive collaborations with all industry players to assist in smart city initiatives in Japan and around Asia," says Jean Liu, president of Didi Chuxing.
"Combining Didi's outstanding innovation with SoftBank's extensive business base including advanced network infrastructure, I believe the joint venture can provide new value to both the consumers and taxi companies of Japan," says Ken Miyauchi, president and CEO of SoftBank Corp.
Japan's taxi market has been tough to crack for Internet mobility service providers due to stiff transport regulations and taxi companies' unwillingness to respond to changing market situations, although it still remains the world’s third largest taxi market.
Uber is also targeting the market, of which Softbank is also a minority stake holder.
Didi said new customized roaming features will be added to Didi's Chinese application, including real-time in-app Chinese-Japanese instant message translation, allowing Chinese customers to directly access Japanese car-hailing functions.
Didi Japan also aims to support the Japanese taxi industry to capture these new opportunities in anticipation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Didi last month said it will launch a separate application for its chauffeur service called Didi Premium following safety concerns over private cars operation on its car-haling platform.