Didi in talks with Dai­ichi Koutsu for Ja­pan roll­out

The Star Malaysia - StarBiz - - Digital Trend -

China’s Didi Chux­ing is in talks with Ja­panese taxi op­er­a­tor Dai­ichi Koutsu Sangyo Co to pro­vide ride-hail­ing ser­vices for Chi­nese tourists vis­it­ing Ja­pan, ac­cord­ing to a per­son fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter.

The ser­vice is ex­pected to launch this spring and will al­low vis­i­tors from the main­land to use Didi’s app to sum­mon and pay for Dai­ichi Koutsu’s taxis oper­at­ing in Ja­pan, ac­cord­ing to the per­son, who asked not to be iden­ti­fied be­cause the mat­ter is pri­vate.

The two com­pa­nies, in­tro­duced by Didi-backer SoftBank Group Corp, will tar­get ar­eas pop­u­lar with main­land vis­i­tors, in­clud­ing Tokyo, Osaka, Kyushu, Hokkaido and Ok­i­nawa, the per­son said.

If the deal is sealed, it would give Didi an op­por­tu­nity to ex­pand in one of the largest taxi mar­kets in the world, with more than 1.7 tril­lion yen (US$15bil) in rev­enue gen­er­ated last fis­cal year.

The app would be avail­able to all cus­tomers in Ja­pan and could pave the way to broader of­fer­ings.

The move may also mark a blow to Uber Tech­nolo­gies Inc, which has failed to gain much ground in Ja­pan since it be­gan op­er­a­tions in 2013.

Last year, 6.4 mil­lion Chi­nese tourists vis­ited Ja­pan, up six-fold from five years ear­lier, ac­cord­ing to the Ja­pan Na­tional Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion. Through Septem­ber of this year, 5.6 mil­lion have vis­ited, ac­cord­ing to the agency.

The ser­vices of­fered by Didi and Dai­ichi Koutsu will fall un­der ex­ist­ing Ja­panese taxi reg­u­la­tions, which pro­hibit the use of un­li­censed cabs, ac­cord­ing to the per­son.

Most of the com­pany’s 6,000 taxis through­out Ja­pan, in­clud­ing all 500 in Tokyo, would be cov­ered by the app un­der the cur­rent talks, the per­son said.

Shares of Dai­ichi Koutsu, which are listed on the Fukuoka Stock Ex­change, jumped as much as 11%. The Nikkei news­pa­per ear­lier re­ported some de­tails of the part­ner­ship.

Didi is ex­plor­ing “broad col­lab­o­ra­tive op­por­tu­ni­ties” in Ja­pan with­out a timetable, the com­pany said in an emailed state­ment, but de­clined to com­ment on whether it was talk­ing with Dai­ichi Koutsu specif­i­cally. — Bloomberg

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