Didi launches taxi-hailing in Japan through SoftBank joint venture

With mainland China being a top source of tourism for Japan, Didi can be sure to leverage this trend with its new service in Osaka.

Japan taxi

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing has officially debuted its taxi-hailing services in Japan starting with the country’s second largest city Osaka, through Didi Japan the joint venture with one of its biggest backers SoftBank, it said in a press release today.

The launch in Osaka will see Didi working with more than 10 local partner taxi companies, which will use Didi’s online fleet management and dispatch system. Users from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan will be able to use their native Chinese Didi app which will come with real-time Chinese-Japanese language message translation and bilingual customer support, the firm said.

According to Travel Weekly Asia, Japan is one of the top visited countries for Chinese outbound travellers, who are also the largest source of tourism for Japan.

The debut comes right before China’s October National Day Holiday, which spans from October 1 the National Day to October 7, during which lots of Chinese opt for outbound travels.

The company had previously announced its plans to expand to Japan in July 2018, which we reported about. In today’s release, it re-established its bullish vision on Japan, stating that it will expand its service to “Kyoto, Fukuoka, Tokyo and other major cities in the near future”.

This move into Japan marks Didi’s third overseas market, after Mexico and Australia, where it faces resistance in racing its largest competitor Uber for market share.

In Japan, Uber has been in the market for four years having to content itself with food delivery and high-end limo services, since regulations deemed ride-sharing illegal. The American giant, however, has started to make headway by getting approval in piloting a taxi-hailing programme, and signing a deal with a taxi group to operate in Nagoya city.

Editor: Ben Jiang