SoftBank, Aeon, Yahoo Japan mull joint online shopping business as Son works on ride-hailing app with China's Didi

The Japan Times 

SoftBank Group Corp., Aeon Co. and Yahoo Japan Corp. are considering launching a joint online shopping business to catch up to U.S. online retail giant Amazon.com Inc., a source close to the matter said Friday. The three companies are discussing a joint venture to sell food, clothing and other products by sharing their products and customer data, the source said. Major Japanese retailer Aeon and internet service provider Yahoo Japan already run online businesses. Telecommunications giant SoftBank Group and its affiliate Yahoo Japan have experience analyzing online markets, and Aeon has a nationwide logistic network. In Japan's online shopping arena, major retailer Rakuten Inc. and U.S. retail behemoth Walmart Inc.'s Japanese unit Seiyu GK said in January they will set up a supermarket. Major retailer Seven & i Holdings Co. has meanwhile begun selling fresh food online to residents in parts of Tokyo in cooperation with Askul Corp., a stationery retailer. SoftBank said separately Friday that it will develop a ride-hailing app for taxi firms with China's leading taxi- and ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing. The two will begin trial services in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Fukuoka later this year, using Didi's advanced artificial intelligence technology to forecast potential demand for their service. SoftBank, led by CEO Masayoshi Son, has a stake in the Chinese company and hopes to strengthen ties through the taxi-hailing venture. Toyota Motor Corp. on Thursday announced it was investing heavily to improve a similar venture with JapanTaxi Co., a subsidiary of taxi firm Nihon Kotsu Co.