DiDi and SoftBank’s joint venture launches taxi-hailing platform in Japan
Pilot operations of the new taxi-hailing service will begin in autumn 2018, with no service charge applied to the taxi companies.
The joint venture will deploy DiDi’s artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytic technologies on its open taxi platform, which will be available for all taxi companies in Japan.
In autumn 2018, pilot operations will begin in Osaka, free of service charge to taxi companies, expanding gradually to Kyoto, Fukuoka, Okinawa, Tokyo and other major cities.
“Through this joint venture, we deliver DiDi’s 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,” said Ken Miyauchi, President & CEO of SoftBank Corp.
With advanced mobile internet infrastructure and a demand for more convenient urban and regional transportation services, Japan holds great potential as a market for online taxi-hailing. DiDi Japan’s new platform uses its machine learning-based technology to make demand prediction for smart dispatching; helping taxi companies further optimise taxi-hailing services and increase passenger convenience.
Consumers can access the taxi-hailing service by installing DiDi Japan’s application on their smartphones. By utilising this platform, taxi companies can provide more focused services in areas with problems such as weak public transportation and an aging driver base.
“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 programmes in Japan and Asia,” said Jean Liu, President of Didi Chuxing.
The new platform could also help satisfy the growing demand for public transportation due to the increased number of tourists. According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, the total number of in-bound travellers is growing substantially year on year, with the number of Chinese tourists contributing to most of the growth.
From the perspective of the taxi companies, the platform enables easy installation of fleet management consoles, easy evaluations of drivers and better customer communication due to an automatic translation function.
Regarding the passengers, the app is easy to use and available for both iOS and Android. It is easy to estimate the driver’s arrival time, easy to pay with various options available (including credit cards, Alipay and WeChat Pay) and easy to communicate with the driver.
“DiDi Mobility Japan’s new platform aims to help taxi companies improve their efficiency and utilisation, enhance user satisfaction and build more broad-based demand for taxi services in Japan,” said Stephen Zhu, CEO of DiDi Japan and Vice President of Didi Chuxing.