[THE INVESTOR] Kakao Mobility said on Sept. 6 that it has invested 15 billion won (US$13.40 million) in JapanTaxi, the largest taxi-hailing firm in Japan.
The taxi booking app firm affiliated with Nihon Kotsu Group, the largest taxi operator in the nation, is leading Japan’s emerging mobile taxi-hailing market with the number of downloads surpassing 5.5 million.
The Korean ride-hailing service provider said it made the latest investment as it believes there will be great opportunities in the taxi-hailing market in Japan, which is still in a fledgling stage.
“The taxi business sector generates 16 trillion won-worth of revenue annually, the largest in the world,” said Jung Joo-hwan, CEO of Kakao Mobility.
“Kakao Mobility will work closely with JapanTaxi to change the taxi-hailing culture in the nation with the firm’s technology and know-how in the mobile segment,” the CEO added.
The two partners will roll out a so-called taxi roaming service in the fourth quarter this year, which will allow Korean and Japanese travelers to book a taxi with the existing mobile taxi-hailing apps of the two companies.
A Korean traveler to Tokyo, for example, can hail a cab with the KakaoTaxi app, while a Japanese tourist can do the same in Seoul with the JapanTaxi app.
Kakao Mobility was spun off from Korea’s largest mobile messenger company Kakao in 2017 after receiving 500 billion won funding from private equity firm TPG. It also runs mobile navigation app KakaoNavi and chauffeur service KakaoDriver.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)