Lyft Looks at Entering Japan Market to Ramp Up Cost Competition

(Bloomberg) -- Lyft Inc. President John Zimmer said the U.S. ride-hailing startup is considering entering Japan, one of the few large markets in the world where such services have not yet taken off.

Zimmer said the company will “absolutely” be looking at the possibility and would probably team up with a local partner to do so. Rivals Uber Technologies Inc. and Didi Chuxing have already said they are planning to expand in Japan, a lucrative market still dominated by traditional taxi companies.

“We would love to be in Japan,” said Zimmer, speaking at the New Economy Summit in Tokyo, without giving any specific timeframe. “There can be greater cost competition here.”

Uber and other ride-hailing services have gained little traction in the $16 billion Japanese taxi market, despite relatively expensive fares. Tight regulation and high service standards have kept incursions to a minimum. Taxi companies have also battled back with their own smartphone apps and other innovations.

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