January 16, 2019

Didi Chuxing and SoftBank team up for ride-hailing in Japan

10 February 2018, 01:46 | Cameron Gross

China`s Didi Chuxing and Soft Bank Group Corp will roll out a venture in Japan later this year. Image source Reuters

China's Didi Soft Bank target Japan in taxi-hailing push

Some of the world's best-known carmakers have teamed up with Chinese car-hailing firm Didi Chuxing to develop plans for a new electric car-sharing service in China.

The partnership will use DiDi technology to raise the efficiency of taxi operators and drivers in Japan, according to the company. Didi has raised almost $20 billion including a $4 billion round for global expansion which closed in December.

The two firms said in a statement they aim to trial matching services in Japan this year.

On Thursday Toyota Motor Corp said it would take a stake in taxi-hailing service JapanTaxi, set up by Japan's largest taxi firm, Nihon Kotsu, whose president, "prince of taxis" Ichiro Kawanabe, has vigorously opposed deregulation.

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.

Tech-based disruptors like Didi and Uber Technologies Inc, as well as traditional carmakers, are all looking to get ahead in the ride-hailing market, amid a global shift in the auto industry towards car sharing, autonomous driving and electric vehicles. USA -based Uber Technologies is focusing on taxi-hailing here amid regulatory and other headwinds to its mainstay contract-driver-based business model.

There are also plans to integrate satellite services, such as insurance, maintenance and fix, parking spaces and charging points, into an industry-wide platform that Didi said will reduce costs and enhance efficiency for the entire EV supply chain.

Complications and conflicts are nothing new. Now, however, those relationships are moving into new levels of complication when SoftBank directly backs a new competitor in a market served by Uber.

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