Published: Tue, February 20, 2018
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

Uber to introduce service across Japan by around 2020: CEO

Uber to introduce service across Japan by around 2020: CEO

Sony's alliance includes Tokyo-based operators Daiwa Motor Transportation, Hinomaru Kotsu, Kokusai Motorcars, Green Cab and the Checker Cab group. "We are investing in technology on a global basis and at a scale that we don't believe a local player can match", he said showing confidence in boosting efficiency by using apps powered by artificial intelligence to predict potential demand. Sony has managed to assemble six taxi companies with a total of 10,000 taxi vehicles in Japan to join in the new venture. Sony says it intends to introduce different packages to suit the different needs of each platform.

Japan somewhat surprisingly trails other developed nations when it comes to ride-hailing services.

Uber now provides its ride-hailing services to limousines in Tokyo but has started to form an alliance with several taxi companies including Daiichi Koutsu Sangyo Co. headquartered in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture.

Nikkei said that the stakes are high because Japan's taxi companies may eventually all congregate on a single platform that bags the most users. App developer JapanTaxi announced a partnership with Toyota on February 8 that will see the automaker invest 7.5 billion yen ($70 million) in the unit of Nihon Kotsu, one of the country's largest taxi operators. The new approach might hold more promise, but Sony will likely pose some serious competition. "It's clear to me that we need to come in with partnership in mind, and in particular a partnership with the taxi industry here".

Sony announced partnerships with several taxi firms to start a ride-hailing service in Japan on Tuesday.

The intelligent ride hailing service is due to launch in the spring, the report adds, but it is not clear if Japan is being used as a test market before launching a similar service in the USA or elsewhere in the world. Both Uber and Didi are backed by SoftBank. As a result, Uber is focused on creating its own dispatch system for taxi operators. Earlier this month, Japanese conglomerate SoftBank and Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing announced plans to set up a venture in the country.

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