Toyota invests $69M in Japanese Uber rival backed by the taxi business

Fundings and Exits

This week isn’t turning out to be nice one for Uber in Japan. Two of its buyers — Didi and SoftBank — are teaming as much as launch a rival service, whereas one among its current rivals has simply landed a giant money infusion and extremely influential backer after Toyota backed JapanTaxi.

The auto big mentioned it should make investments 7.5 billion JPY ($69 billion) into JapanTaxi, an Uber-like service that’s owned by Ichiro Kawanabe, who runs Japan’s largest taxi operator Nihon Kotsu and heads up the nation’s taxi federation.

Toyota can be an Uber investor and it beforehand backed JapanTaxi by way of $four.5 million funding from its Mirai Creation Fund, in keeping with Bloomberg.

These new funds will go in direction of creating the service additional, whereas Toyota mentioned it plans “cooperation and enterprise collaboration in such areas as linked terminals for taxis, the joint growth of vehicle-dispatch assist methods, and big-data assortment.”

JapanTaxi additionally presents a fare calculator app if you happen to took a taxi offline, and an app for reserving rides for kids.

The JapanTaxi app for iOS

Uber doesn’t present enterprise info or person numbers for its enterprise Japan or different markets in Asia. Nevertheless, it’s mentioned to account for lower than one p.c of Tokyo’s taxi market. JapanTaxi, in the meantime, claims 4 million downloads and 60,000 taxis — or round one-quarter of all taxi drivers in Japan — on its platform.

Messaging app Line is one other competitor in Japan, the place peer-to-peer rides are banned. Line’s hailing service sits inside its app — which is Japan’s hottest messenger — and it has built-in with taxi operators that embody Nihon Kotsu, however it’s unclear how widespread it’s now following its 2015 launch.

Japan’s taxi business is without doubt one of the largest at $15 billion per 12 months. With Didi and SoftBank set to supply one more competitor, it’s no shock that Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has made Japan the primary cease of his inaugural journey to Asia as head of the ride-sharing agency.

Featured Picture: Getty Pictures

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