China’s Didi Chuxing to launch taxi hailing service in Japan

Didi will begin trialing taxi hailing services in selected cities from autumn this year.

Didi Chuxing

Softbank is bringing taxi hailing to its home country with the help of Didi Chuxing.

The Japanese internet giant has joined hands with Didi, better known as China’s Uber slayer, to trial its taxi-hailing service in the land of the sun, the companies said in a statement Thursday.

Fukuoka, Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo will be among the first to welcome the service from autumn this year.

The news comes almost two months after Uber said it’s pilot testing the same service in Awaji island, situated close to Osaka.

Tokyo-based Softbank has invested in multiple ride-sharing firms including Didi, Uber, Southeast Asia’s Grab and India’s Ola, to name a few.

But Japan prohibits private car owners from using their own vehicles for ride sharing — essentially booking and hopping on a ride typically driven by non-professional drivers using private cars — so Uber and the rest that want to operate in the country have had to partner with taxi operators to offer users the ability to book a cab from their respective apps. 

The ban has prompted criticism from CEO Masayoshi Son.

“I can’t believe there is still such a stupid country,” he told his audience at an annual company event Thursday.

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