On Sept. 27, 2018, DiDi Mobility Japan (DiDi Japan), a joint venture established by Didi Chuxing and Softbank Corp., kicks off its operation in Japan as its taxi-hailing app goes live in Osaka. This marks the official start of DiDi’s service in the world’s third largest economy.
The service will be first launched in the Osaka city area and Senshu area (Southwest Osaka Region including Kansai International Airport). Over 10 local taxi companies, including Daiichi Koutsu Sangyo, Japan’s largest taxi fleet operator, will use DiDi’s AI-powered online fleet management and dispatch system to improve transportation efficiency, increase drivers’ income, and provide more flexible travel options to citizens and travelers.
According to the japantimes, in Osaka, around 600 taxis, or 70 percent of the vehicles operated by Daiichi Koutsu in the prefecture, will be equipped with tablets that will receive information about the nearest customer who needs a ride.
With a population of 8.83 million, Osaka is the largest city in DiDi’s expanding international operations network. The launch in Osaka also marks the beginning of DiDi’s roaming ride-hailing services between Japan, Australia and Mexico, the three core overseas markets where the DiDi brand operates.
According to reports, DiDi has added an in-app function of real-time Chinese-Japanese translation to the services in Japan, improving the communication efficiency for Chinese-speaking roaming users and Japanese drivers. In addition, DiDi has a Chinese-Japanese bilingual customer service in Japan to provide local support for tourists from Greater China.
Japan is the world’s third largest taxi market, where 240,000 licensed taxis transport 1.6 billion passengers annually with a Gross Merchandise Volume of $ 13.3 billion.
At the launch of DiDi Japan in July 2018, Jean Liu, President of DiDi, reaffirmed the company’s commitment to develop extensive collaboration with all industry players to assist in smart city programs across Japan and Asia. DiDi Japan also plans to expand its service to Kyoto, Fukuoka, Tokyo and other major cities in the near future.