Sony forms cab alliance as Uber builds presence

Sony's push comes at the same time that Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who is now in Tokyo, is attempting to make new inroads into the Japanese market. "But that product hasn't kept up with technological change".

Khosrowshahi's enthusiasm echoes comments from Uber's Asia head Brooks Entwistle, who told Bloomberg this year that Japan will be a major focus for the company in 2018.

Daiwa Motor Transportation and the other five taxy companies own a fleet of 10,000 cars which serve Tokyo residents.

Sony is planning to launch a smart ride-hailing service in its home country, Japan, leveraging artificial intelligence to handle demand and ensure proper operations. The company sees the heavily-populated country as a potentially lucrative market for flying taxis. The new approach might hold more promise, but Sony will likely pose some serious competition. JapanTaxi says 60,000 cabs, or around one-fourth of cabs in Japan, are enlisted on its administration, which it claims gives it the greatest marketshare among Japanese taxi-dispatch applications.

"It is clear to me that we need to come in with partnership in mind and in particular partnership with the taxi industry", he said without providing specifics.

Daiichi Koutsu Sangyo said Monday it plans to link up with Uber to provide its app users rides in major Japanese cities with worldwide airports, including Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka, as well as Okinawa.

SoftBank is heavily present in the taxi market and recently took a 15-per cent stake in Uber.

After years of little action, Japan's lackluster ride-hailing industry is suddenly seeing a lot of activity.

Khosrowshahi said he wasn't bothered by SoftBank's announcement this month that it's partnering with Didi to target ride-hailing in Japan.

A blog post has been released by the company, which writes about the recently announced move that it is not yet cleared that how will their service be integrated in the form of transport model now existing since it has launched in the transport industry three years ago.

  • Anthony Vega