China's Didi Chuxing Steps up Expansion in Japan
Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing is riding the wave of global expansion. Didi Mobility Japan ("DiDi Japan"), a joint venture between Didi Chuxing and SoftBank Corp., officially launched its taxi-hailing service in Tokyo and Kyoto. This marks Didi Japan's expansion into the three core cities in Japan following its launch in Osaka in September 2018.
With their vibrant combination of culture, nature and commerce, Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka are home to over 50 million people—nearly 50 per cent of Japan’s population—and are popular destinations for the over 30 million tourists visiting the country each year.
The Growth Timeline
Mobile transportation platform Didi Chuxing (“DiDi”) offers a full range of app-based transportation options for 550 million users, including taxi, express, premier, luxe, bus, designated driving, enterprise solutions, bike sharing, e-bike sharing, car rental and sharing,and food delivery. The company partners with leading taxi companies like Grab, Lyft, Ola, 99, Bolt (Taxify) and Careem to improve taxi utilization and provide more flexible travel options. Its digital platform proves a powerful data tool for taxi operators to improve dispatching efficiency and expand user base.
Currently, the company provides ride-hailing services in Brazil under the 99 brand; operates Didi-branded mobility services in Mexico and Australia; and provides taxi-hailing service in Japan through a joint venture. Since Didi Japan’s launch in Osaka six months ago, the number of Didi’s taxi operators tripled in the platform and the business has achieved 60 per cent monthly growth.
To encourage local residents and visitors to experience Japan’s taxi service in a new way, Didi Japan will be launching new promotion programs including a booking fee waiver for Tokyo riders, and a Mileage Program for loyal riders. Passengers may also hail a Didi Taxi directly from popular apps including Google Maps and Yahoo! Transit. The company is also exploring more diversified payment options through cooperation with PayPay, a leading payment app in Japan.
Didi Japan is also attracting a growing fan base among Chinese visitors to Japan. According to the Japan Tourism Agency, the number of Chinese tourists traveling to Japan hit a record high in 2018, exceeding 8 million with a year-on-year growth of 13.9 per cent. Existing Didi users in Chinese mainland and Hong Kong will be able to hail a taxi in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka from their native app, aided by in-app real-time Chinese-Japanese text message translation and 24/7 Chinese customer support.
The company aims to continue building relationships with local communities and helping more Chinese tourists to experience Japan by expanding into additional new cities later this year.
Didi claims it is the largest taxi-hailing app globally, connecting over 2 million taxi drivers across China, Latin America and Japan.