In response to Uber’s plans to expand to Japan, Sony announced a partnership with multiple taxi companies to help it enter the ride-hailing business. Uber confirmed that it plans to bring the business model to Japan hours after Sony’s announcement.
Sony, however, plans to push things even further as its service would be powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). The Tokyo-based tech giant, Daiwa Motor Transportation Corp., and a handful of taxi firms plan to join forces and launch a new company this spring.
Daiwa Motor Transportation and the other five taxy companies own a fleet of 10,000 cars which serve Tokyo residents. In 2015, Tokyo had a population of 9.273 million. Sony will reportedly bring the AI factor, which will ensure that there are enough cars on the road to match the demand and many more.
Uber also announced that it plans to further expand on the Japanese market by inking new deals with local firms.
Uber Plans Expansion in Japan
Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi underlined that the U.S. company has to come with a strong partnership as well if it wants to survive in Japan, as the local taxi industry has a very strong presence. Khosrowshahi noted that Japan’s traditional taxi firms have failed to keep up with the technological advances.
Uber plans to expand in Japan at a time when it is wondering whether it would be better to sell its Southeast Asia business to the Singapore-based Grab. However, Japan could offer a place to grow as the young population is very keen on new technologies.
The major obstacle is the tough regulation in Japan for companies like Uber. In the country, non-professional taxi drivers must pair with existing taxi firms to offer taxi services. So, Uber can no longer offer ride-hailing services like it does in Europe and the U.S.A.
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