DiDi and SoftBank's joint venture to launch Taxi-Hailing Platform Pilot operation to begin in autumn with no service charge to taxi companies

Via SoftBank

Jul 19, 2018

Tokyo and Beijing, July 19, 2018: Didi Chuxing (“DiDi”) and SoftBank Corp. (“SoftBank”) today announced that both companies established a joint venture, DiDi Mobility Japan Corp. (“DiDi Japan”) to offer next-generation taxi-hailing services in Japan. The joint venture will deploy DiDi's world's most advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytic technologies on its open taxi platform. The platform will be available for all taxi companies in Japan. DiDi Japan will begin pilot operations free of service charge to taxi companies in autumn from Osaka, expanding to Kyoto, Fukuoka, Okinawa, Tokyo and other major cities gradually.

With advanced mobile internet infrastructure and a global reputation for high-quality taxi service, Japan holds great potential as a market for online taxi-hailing. There is an earnest demand for more convenient urban and regional transportation services. DiDi Japan's new platform uses its machine learning-based technology to make demand prediction for smart dispatching. The new service would help Japan's taxi companies further optimize taxi-hailing services and increase passenger convenience.

The new platform aims to help satisfy the following demands:

1. Major cities and suburban demand for taxi-hailing services

DiDi Japan's new platform could help to stimulate consumer demand for taxi-hailing services in major cities and suburban areas in Japan. Consumers can enjoy using new efficient taxi-hailing services everywhere in Japan by simply installing DiDi Japan's application on their smartphones. By utilizing this platform, taxi companies can provide more focused services in areas with problems such as weak public transportation and an aging driver base, which can lead to the revitalization of regional economies.

2. Demand from foreign tourists in Japan

DiDi Japan's new platform could help to satisfy the growing demand for public transportation by foreign tourists. According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, the total number of in-bound travelers is growing substantially year on year, with the number of Chinese tourists contributing to most of the growth. DiDi Japan believes that it can satisfy a greater proportion of the demand among Chinese travelers by having taxi operators use its taxi-hailing platform, which it has begun offering at this time, is connected to its passenger application that has a total of approximately 550 million registered users and has a roaming function that can be used as is in Japan.

The new platform offers the following key benefits and features:

Key benefits and features for taxi companies

  • Easy to install fleet management console for taxi companies and its applications for drivers
  • Easy to manage the dispatch operation and status on the fleet management console
  • Easy for taxi companies to monitor evaluations from customers of drivers, improving the quality of services
  • Easy to communicate with customers through an automatic translation function (between Japanese and Chinese)

Key benefits and features for passengers

  • Easy to use taxi-hailing service by installing DiDi Japan's application (available for both iOS and Android* )
  • Easy to estimate the driver's pick-up time within the application
  • Easy to pay by a variety of payment platforms including major credit cards, and Chinese tourists, who use DiDi's application, can select Alipay and WeChat Pay while in Japan
  • Easy to communicate with drivers through automatic translation function (between Japanese and Chinese) [Note]

Both applications will be available when the trial starts.

"Through this joint venture, I am delighted to deliver DiDi's most advanced transportation platform service with AI technology to the Japanese market. Combining DiDi's outstanding innovation with SoftBank's extensive business base including advanced network infrastructure, I believe the joint venture can provide new value to both consumers and taxi companies in Japan," says Ken Miyauchi, President & CEO of SoftBank Corp.

“DiDi believes AI-based innovation may contribute to new growth of the taxi industry and the public transportation sectors. We look forward to developing extensive collaboration with all industry players to assist in smart city programs in Japan and Asia”, says Jean Liu, President of Didi Chuxing.

“DiDi Mobility Japan's new platform aims to help taxi companies to improve their efficiency and utilization, enhance user satisfaction and build more broad-based demand for taxi services in Japan,” says Stephen Zhu, CEO of DiDi Japan and Vice President of Didi Chuxing.

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