Sony Is Launching Japanese Ride-Hailing Service As Uber Ponders Similar Action


After Japan, Khosrowshahi is scheduled to visit India, where Uber is competing against local ride-hailing start-up Ola. But its new chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, has struck a more conciliatory tone after a string of controversies that emerged under the former CEO, Travis Kalanick. The Sony Payment Service involvement will be to provide payment services for the new system.

Japan is seen as a potentially lucrative ride-hailing market, with regulators under pressure to ease stringent rules. Sony's administrations, including applications, will likewise be offered to other taxi administrators in Japan. Last November the ride-sharing company announced a partnership with NASA in their efforts to take their app to the skies. However, has not did not stopped Uber itself from attempting to enter market. Uber's Chinese rival Didi Chuxing past year began partnership talks with taxi operator Daiichi Koutsu Sangyo Co., with the discussions facilitated by SoftBank, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg last October. Sony and Daiwa Motor declined to comment.

Toyota Motor has said it will take a stake in taxi-hailing service JapanTaxi, set up by Japan's largest taxi firm, Nihon Kotsu.

The alliance comes as Uber Technologies Inc., the world's biggest ride-hailing startup, is in talks with another cab company as it tries to build its presence in the country.

The intelligent ride hailing service is due to launch in the spring, the report adds, but it is not clear if Japan is being used as a test market before launching a similar service in the USA or elsewhere in the world. Several companies joined hands with the transport ministry in August to test a system that allows passengers to check how much a ride will cost in advance. "We're very early in our relationship, but we're already having very good dialog, both about the Japanese market and the ecosystem that SoftBank has created".

Khosrowshahi said he wasn't bothered by SoftBank's announcement this month that it's partnering with Didi to target ride-hailing in Japan.

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