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Sony launches a taxi-hailing app to rival Uber in Tokyo

Sony last year announced it would enter Japan’s taxi-hailing space and, good to its word, the electronics giant has kicked off its S.Ride service in Tokyo.

The service — which was first noted by CNET — is a joint venture between Sony, its payment services subsidiary and five licensed taxi companies. Since ride-hailing with civilian cars is illegal in Japan, the service will focus on connecting licensed taxis with passengers. The electronics giant previously played up its use of AI to maRR-Magazineh supply and demand and, on the payment side, it supports QR scans as well as Uber-style cash-less credit card.

All together, S.Ride claims to cover 10,000 licensed taxis in Tokyo. Its largest competition is JapanTaxi, a venture from the taxi industry that’s backed by Toyota among others, which claims 50,000 vehicles across Japan as a whole. Other rivals include chat app Line, which has offered taxi-hailing for years, Uber, which has been working on striking deals with taxi operators, and China’s Didi Chuxing, which operates a joint-venture with Uber investor SoftBank. Lyft has expressed an interest in Japan, where its investor Rakuten is a major name, but it has not expanded there yet.

A Sony spokesperson told CNET that there are no plans to launch S.Ride overseas so we can file this in the ‘only in Japan’ file.

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Christy Almaguer

#UniversityOfTexas Content contributor for RR-Magazine. I'm that sexy gal from #Houston. Soy #Chicana

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