Sony to compete with Uber in Japan with own ride-hailing app

MANILA, Philippines – Globetrotting Uber has faced many rivals in the ride-hailing space, many of which tend to be startups including Southeast Asia’s Grab and its home country rival Lyft. In Japan though, Uber faces off with a company that certainly has more history than most of its rivals: Sony.

The gaming and electronics giant launched on Tuesday, April 16, its own ride-hailing service called S.Ride. For the service, Sony partnered with 5 taxi companies with a combined fleet of 10,000 cabs. 

Uber operates a little differently in Japan as domestic laws prevent non-professional drivers from taking in fees from passengers and alleged pressure from long-time taxi operators.  This has resulted in Uber partnering with taxi operators instead of forming its own fleet of privately driven cars as in other markets.  

JapanTaxi is another local Uber rival, with a fleet of 60,000 nationwide. 

Like many apps today, S.Ride offers cashless payment, which in its case, is called S.Ride Wallet. It allows passengers to pay for a ride just by scanning the QR code displayed on a backseat tablet.

Sony also said that it plans to add services such as a “supply and demand forecasting service using AI technology within the fiscal year.”

It has no plans of bringing the service to other countries. –