China’s Didi, SoftBank to roll out taxi venture in Japan

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese ride hailing giant Didi Chuxing will set up a venture with SoftBank Group Corp to provide ride-hailing and other services for the Japanese taxi industry, the companies said in a statement on Friday.

The move into Japan underscores a recent push by Didi to beef up its presence in markets outside China and intensifies the firm’s global battle with U.S. rival Uber Technologies Inc, whose China business it bought in 2016.

The two firms aim to establish the joint venture and begin trial services in Japan this year. SoftBank is an existing investor in Didi, which raised $4 billion to fund its global push in December at a valuation of more than $50 billion.

Didi has expanded overseas rapidly in the past year since sealing its dominance in China with the purchase of Uber’s local business, ending a cash-burning subsidy war that cost the U.S. firm roughly $2 billion.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Edwina Gibbs