It looks like the taxi war that has been sweeping across the globe following the rise of Uber has finally reached Japan. Up until recently, Uber’s only competitor in the Japanese market was Osaka-based Hailo, which is a very, very distant second. Now things might be finally be getting serious as LINE, one of the most recognizable brand names in Japan at the moment, is entering the battle with LINE Taxi.
Finally, Japan gets a taxi war of its own. China has Didi Dache versus Kuadi Dache. India has Ola and TaxiForSure. GrabTaxi and EasyTaxi are duking it out across Southeast Asia. Even Vietnam has a Tolkien-esque battle of five armies. But Japan? It was enjoying a serene peace under the benevolent (and rarely surge-priced) Uber with only a distant challenger in the Osaka-based Hailo to be considered. Today, Line changed the game by adding a new wrinkle to its messenging app – Line Taxi. Line Taxi is not available as a separate download. Like the recently unveiled Line Pay, it is accessible via the main messaging app. Payment is carried out via a credit card registered to Line Pay, so much of the user experience is essentially identical to Uber. Use GPS to identify your position, request a cab, and pay without needing to reach for your wallet.