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

Ivan Schwartz
February 11, 2018

Chinese ride hailing giant Didi Chuxing said it will set up a venture with SoftBank Group Corp to provide ride-hailing and other services for the Japanese taxi industry.

Didi and SoftBank's trial service, which will leverage Didi's "deep learning-based demand prediction and smart dispatch systems", will initially roll out in cities including Osaka, Kyoto, Fukuoka and Tokyo.

Reuters provides more: "A person familiar with Didi's tie-up with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance said the partnership was about looking at the possibility of supplying all-electric battery vehicle models for Didi's new service".

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.

DiDi reports that its online platform for taxi-hailing now includes 2 million taxi drivers connected to the ap.

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The focus is on taxi drivers and taxi operator firms because peer-to-peer ride services are not legal in Japan. DiDi has partnerships with almost 500 taxi operators in China. Didi is, however, facing rising challenges at home, including a slower pace of growth, new rivals entering the market and drivers complaining that reduced subsidies mean they are working longer hours for the less pay.

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.

This new electric vehicle (EV) car-sharing platform will reportedly be created in partnership with 12 of the top auto manufacturers operating in the country - including the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, BYD, BAIC BJEV, Chery, Zotye Automobile, Kia, and Ford. DiDi is partnering with automakers, new energy transportation infrastructure operators and after-sales service providers to build an open new energy car-sharing system.

Didi is also trying to diversify at home. As of August 2017, DiDi-which acquired Uber China in 2016-had built investment and technology partnerships with seven leading rideshare companies of the world, including Lyft, Grab, Ola, Uber, 99, Taxify and Careem.

Other reports by GizPress

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