KITAKYUSHU, Japan (Kyodo) -- A taxi-hailing service using a smartphone application developed by Chinese ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing Technology Co. will be launched in Osaka Prefecture, western Japan, possibly this month, the service providers said Monday.
Japanese taxi company Daiichi Koutsu Sangyo Co. and Didi Mobility Japan Corp., a joint venture set up by mobile phone carrier SoftBank Corp. and Didi in June, said they have forged an alliance to start the trial service, targeting the increasing number of Chinese tourists in Japan.
"I hope to meet the demands of foreign tourists and provide a more comfortable riding experience," said Ryoichiro Tanaka, president of Daiichi Koutsu, based in Kitakyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture, southwestern Japan.
After introducing the service in Osaka and collecting data on passengers, Daiichi Koutsu said it will consider expanding it to other major tourist spots such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukuoka and Okinawa.
Under the service in Osaka, some 600 taxis, or 70 percent of total vehicles operated by Daiichi Koutsu in the prefecture, will be equipped with tablets equipped with Didi's technology, which will receive information about the nearest customer hoping to get a ride.
When calling a taxi, users can designate their current location and destination through a Didi application.
Payments can be conducted by smartphones, Daiichi Koutsu said. Smartphone application for Japanese users will also be unveiled before the service is implemented in Osaka.