Major taxi operator Nihon Kotsu Co. and information technology firm DeNA Co. will integrate their taxi-hailing app businesses April 1.

With their integrated services, over 100,000 taxis will be available for hailing, the companies said Tuesday.

The integration is intended to increase cost competitiveness, improve customer convenience and cultivate the taxi-hailing app market.

DeNA’s taxi-hailing business MOV, which offers some 30,000 cabs, will be spun off and taken over by JapanTaxi Co., a Nihon Kotsu subsidiary.

After the merger, DeNA will acquire new shares to be issued by JapanTaxi, whose name will be changed after the business integration, giving it a 38.17 percent equity stake in the company. The ownership will match that of Nihon Kotsu.

Nihon Kotsu and DeNA are also considering the introduction of a unified taxi-hailing app.

Although the utilization ratio of cab-hailing app services stands at only 2 percent in the country, where some 220,000 cabs are available, companies such as Didi Mobility Japan Corp., a joint venture between SoftBank Corp. and Chinese ride-hailing giant DiDi Chuxing, have entered the market with expectations for future growth.

Nihon Kotsu and DeNA plan to increase the number of app users by investing in improved tax-hailing systems. They will also step up efforts to strengthen the in-car advertising business, which is a key income source.

Ichiro Kawanabe, president of both Nihon Kotsu and JapanTaxi, will become chairman of the integrated company, and DeNA Managing Executive Officer Hiroshi Nakajima is set to become its president.

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