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Uber CEO plans to make fresh push in Japan via taxi partnerships

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Uber Technologies Inc wants to forge partnerships with taxi companies in Japan because its go-it-alone approach in the country wasn't working, chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi said in Tokyo on Tuesday.

[TOKYO] Uber Technologies Inc wants to forge partnerships with taxi companies in Japan because its go-it-alone approach in the country wasn't working, chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi said in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The taxi market in Japan can be made more efficient, even though it has a high quality of service, he said at a public event with former US ambassador to Japan John Roos. While Mr Khosrowshahi, didn't announce any specific partnerships, he made clear that Uber would make a renewed push to expand in Japan.

It's the clearest sign yet the ride-hailing giant will redouble efforts to take a piece of Japan's US$16 billion taxi market. Amid heavy operating losses in the US and a retreat from international markets - Uber has ceded China, Russia and is said to be considering a sale of its South-east Asia business - Japan has the potential to offer a rare bright spot to a company headed for a public listing next year.

"I saw Japan as an incredible opportunity, and when I asked the team why wasn't our Japan business larger, I started learning the history of our approach to Japan, and it was an approach that frankly didn't work," said Mr Khosrowshahi, who is making his first trip to Asia as Uber's CEO.

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He was speaking with Mr Roos, a co-founding partner at Geodesic Capital, an Uber investor.

"It's clear to me that we need to come in with partnership in mind, and in particular a partnership with the taxi industry here, which actually has a very, very strong product," said Mr Khosrowshahi.

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