Didi Chuxing, the largest taxi-booking app in China, and SoftBank established a joint venture with plans to pilot a free platform for cab companies in Japan.

The venture, Didi Mobility Japan (Didi Japan), will deploy the Chinese company’s artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytic technologies to deliver a machine-learning platform capable of predicting demand to improve dispatch operations.

In a statement, the companies said the platform will initially pilot in Osaka before being extended to other major Japanese cities including Kyoto, Fukuoka, Okinawa and Tokyo.

Stephen Zhu, CEO of Didi Japan, said the platform aims to help taxi companies improve their efficiency and utilisation, enhance user satisfaction and build more broad-based demand for taxi services in Japan.

Ken Miyauchi, president and CEO of SoftBank, said: “Combining Didi’s outstanding innovation with SoftBank’s extensive business base, including advanced network infrastructure, I believe the joint venture can provide new value to both consumers and taxi companies in Japan.”

Didi Chuxing president Jean Liu believes its AI-based innovation may contribute to new growth of the taxi industry and the public transportation sectors: “we look forward to developing extensive collaboration with all industry players to assist in smart city programmes in Japan and Asia”.

The latest joint venture follows a similar move by the companies in February focussed on using AI in booking platforms in Japan.