China's Didi Chuxing is fighting home fires around the safety of passengers, but overseas the giant has moved to another market after its taxi reservation service began operating in Japan.
The service was launched in Osaka, the city of almost nine million people and parts of the surrounding area, including the Kansai International Airport. The Didi Japan app links passengers with drivers from 10 local taxi companies, and Didi said he will use a fleet management and dispatch system based on artificial intelligence for efficiency.
Didi, valued at $ 56 billion, joined Japan in partnership with SoftBank, which is, of course, one of its investors. The company said it plans to expand service to major cities, including "Kyoto, Fukuoka and Tokyo" in the near future.
The company will keep the license taxis and not the private cars because the latter is prohibited in Japan. Even so, the traditional taxi industry is a big business in Japan. The country is the third largest taxi market in the world based on revenues ($ 13 billion GMV) and has some 240,000 licensed vehicles.
Uber, meanwhile, is piloting a similar approach in taxi in Japan, but there are some much larger players in space.
JapanTaxi is a high-speed venture operated by Ichiro Kawanabe, which runs Japan's largest taxi operator Nihon Kotsu and runs the country's taxi federation. JapanTaxi also has renowned sponsors, with Toyota as the main investor in a recent round of financing of $ 69 million. Beyond that, the popular messaging application Line operates a transport service while Lyft, rival of Uber in the US market, is also considering entering Japan.
Didi hopes to stand out from the competition by attracting both travelers and locals. To help attract the interest of tourists visiting the country, it has created an "itinerant passport" that will allow users of other Didi applications -including China, Mexico, Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan- to use their usual Didi application. Japan. 
This release in Japan has been in sight for a while – SoftBank and Didi announced the joint venture in February – and this is the fifth expansion that Didi has completed so far this year. The company raised $ 4 billion at the end of last year and allocated that capital to develop artificial intelligence, basic technology and international markets.
Didi has not delayed in expanding his business worldwide. The company has expanded organically to Mexico and Australia, while it acquired rival Uber 99 in Brazil in a $ 1 billion deal and launched an expansion based on franchises in Taiwan. Its global reach also includes investments, and has holdings in Uber in the United States, Wave in India, Grab in Southeast Asia, Careem in the Middle East and Taxify in Europe and Africa.