© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logos of Didi Chuxing and SoftBank are pictured during a news conference about their Japanese taxi-hailing joint venture in Tokyo

TOKYO (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 (NYSE:) 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 (T:) 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.

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2019-04-23