Japan's Sony Corp to form alliance to build taxi-hailing system: Nikkei
20 February, 2018, 18:31 | Author: Elaine Woods
Sony's push comes at the same time that Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who is now in Tokyo, is attempting to make new inroads into the Japanese market.
The company, Uber Technologies Inc. has already terminated its service in Finland and Norway for the local regulatory framework to be changed in the countries.
Khosrowshahi was speaking at an investor forum in Tokyo on his first visit to Asia as Uber CEO. Sony and Daiwa Motor declined to comment.
The ride-hailing service industry faces fierce competition from taxis as well as new entrants offering similar services. Like it has in numerous markets where it now operates, Uber has faced opposition from local taxi groups in Morocco who claim that the ride-hailing company's operations undercuts their business. The Sony Payment Service involvement will be to provide payment services for the new system. Toyota Motor Corp. has teamed up with Nihon Kotsu Co.
"It is clear to me that we need to come in with partnership in mind and in particular partnership with the taxi industry", he said without providing specifics. "We will be working closely with them through this hard transition", Uber said.
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And on Tuesday, just an hour before Khosrowshahi spoke, Sony Corp. unveiled an alliance with six taxi operators in Japan, which have a combined fleet of more than 10,000 cabs in the greater Tokyo area.
"They have invested in many other ride-hailing and ride-sharing companies around the world, which has allowed them to be incredibly smart about what it takes to succeed", he said.
Khosrowshahi says that Japan looks like an "incredible opportunity", but Uber's approach has failed to yield the desired results.
The company announced the move on its country blog yesterday, writing that it has "not had any clarity" on how its service can be integrated into the existing transport model since it launched in the market three years ago. If Sony doesn't get in early, it risks missing out on what could be a hot market. China'sDidi Chuxing Technology Co., another ride-hailing firm backed by SoftBank, is also said to be working on its own dispatch system in partnership with Japanese taxi operators.
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