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Chinese taxi-hailing Didi app to debut in Osaka, possibly in September

Kyodo

A taxi-hailing service using a smartphone application developed by Chinese ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing Technology Co. will be launched in Osaka Prefecture, possibly this month.

Taxi company Daiichi Koutsu Sangyo Co. and Didi Mobility Japan Corp., a joint venture set up in June by mobile phone carrier SoftBank Corp. and Didi, said Monday they forged the alliance to start the trial service with Chinese tourists in mind.

“I hope to meet the demands of foreign tourists and provide a more comfortable riding experience,” said Ryoichiro Tanaka, president of Kitakyushu-based Daiichi Koutsu.

After starting out in Osaka and collecting data on passengers, Daiichi Koutsu said it will consider expanding the service to other major tourist spots such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukuoka and Okinawa.

In Osaka, some 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.

When calling for a taxi, users can designate their current location and destination through a Didi application.

Payments can be conducted by smartphone, Daiichi Koutsu said. The smartphone application for Japanese users will be unveiled before the service is implemented in Osaka.