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Singapore-based delivery firm Foodpanda launches in Japan

The initial rollout will cover six cities outside of Tokyo and marks Foodpanda’s 12th market in Asia.

Singapore-headquartered delivery platform Foodpanda on Wednesday announced that it launched in Japan, the company’s 12th market in Asia.

The initial rollout will cover Kobe, Yokohama, and Nagoya from September 17, and Sapporo, Fukuoka, and Hiroshima from  October 1. During an online press conference, Foodpanda Japan chief executive officer Eric Wei noted that while the firm eventually intends to establish its presence across all of Japan, its first phase will target cities outside of Tokyo, as food delivery services have yet to penetrate areas outside the capital.

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Foodpanda will provide both food and grocery delivery services. It also intends to pioneer quick-commerce, or q-commerce, in Japan and across the region. The term, coined by Foodpanda’s parent company Delivery Hero, refers to e-commerce with a dedicated focus on delivering goods “almost instantly”.

“We are moving beyond food and groceries, and delivering a wide range of goods one click away and in 25 minutes,” said Jakob Angele, Asia Pacific chief executive officer, in the press conference.

Angele also emphasized Foodpanda’s use of technology, which Wei echoed. The firm will leverage AI and machine learning to make operations more efficient and ensure “optimal deployment of riders”, Wei added, in order to bring down costs and adhere to a 25-minute delivery time.

While Japan is a “very advanced, tech-savvy, and curious” market, Angele noted that food delivery is not as established compared to other countries in the region, like Singapore and Taiwan. User penetration for the online food delivery segment in Japan is 16.6%, compared to 41% in Singapore and 36.7% in Hong Kong.

Foodpanda was established in 2012. Initially launched in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand, it has since expanded to more than 200 cities across 12 countries in Asia. In 2016, it was acquired by Berlin-based food delivery network Delivery Hero, which announced in December that it would acquire South Korean food delivery app Woowa in a deal valued at USD 4 billion.