Business / Corporate

SoftBank and DiDi start taxi-hailing service in Osaka

JIJI

A joint venture between SoftBank Corp. and China’s DiDi Chuxing launched a taxi-hailing service in Osaka Prefecture on Thursday.

The service, operated by DiDi Mobility Japan Corp. and accessible using a free smartphone app, is aimed at visitors to Japan and others.

Under the service, potential customers hail cabs by entering their destinations into the app. Taxis that are available nearby then head to boarding points to pick them up.

Over 1,000 vehicles from 12 taxi companies operating in areas around Kansai International Airport and in the city of Osaka are available via the service, which combines the planning ability of the Japanese telecommunications company with the advanced artificial intelligence of the Chinese ride-hailing giant.

DiDi Mobility Japan aims to expand the service to other prefectures, including Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa, by the end of March next year.

“We would like to spread in Japan the business that DiDi Chuxing succeeded with in China,” said Ken Miyauchi, president and chief executive officer at SoftBank, a unit of SoftBank Group Corp., at a news conference in Osaka.