April 24, 2019 / 3:34 AM / 7 months ago

Didi-SoftBank taxi-hailing JV expands to 13 cities across Japan

TOKYO, April 24 (Reuters) - Didi Mobility Japan, a joint venture (JV) by China's Didi Chuxing and SoftBank Corp, said on Wednesday that it would expand its taxi-hailing service to 13 cities across Japan.

Despite SoftBank's oversized presence in the global ride-hailing industry, such services are effectively banned in Japan, leaving SoftBank portfolio companies like Didi and Uber limited to offering services that match taxis with customers.

The app launched in September in Osaka, a popular destination for Chinese tourists, where it tied up with taxi firms to enter an increasingly crowded market for such apps that includes rivals backed by Sony Corp and Toyota Motor Corp.

Didi is among a growing number of SoftBank Group Corp-backed companies launching joint ventures with SoftBank's domestic telco. Other startups doing so are shared co-working firm WeWork Cos and Indian hotel startup OYO. (Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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