Didi expands to Hokkaido, a fifth city in Japan 

The ride-hailer faces growing pressure in its home market.

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Didi expands to Hokkaido, a fifth city in Japan 

Didi Mobility Japan, a joint venture between Didi Chuxing and SoftBank Corp, is launching its taxi-hailing service in Hokkaido, including its capital city Sapporo.

The ride-hailer first launched in Japan last September via Osaka and it has since expanded into Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hyōgo. In a press release, the company said that it will launch its service in more areas in Japan by the end of this year.

Didi Chuxing still dominates China’s ride-hailing market but is facing more domestic competition, for example from Meituan and its own investor, Tencent.

Best known as a food-delivery company, Meituan has added ride-hailing in 25 cities in just two months by teaming with smaller players such as Caocao and Ucar. Tencent applied to Chinese authorities to register a number of mobility-related trademarks, including Tencent Chuxing (Chuxing means ‘mobility’) and Tencent Dache (‘ride-hailing’). In addition, Tencent also set up a ride-hailing platform called OnTime, together with Guangzhou Auto, holding a 30% stake in the JV. OnTime plans to launch its service in Guangzhou later this month and expects to expand nationwide later.

Meanwhile, Didi has also opened its platform to smaller players, with the first being online travel agency Tongcheng-backed Miaozou.

And it’s also ramping up its overseas expansion. Weeks ago, Didi kicked off its ride-hailing service in two Latin American countries, Colombia and Chile. In the first quarter of 2018, Didi acquired Brazilian startup 99 and entered in Mexico.