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Why Ride-Sharing is Different in Japan – Ryo Umezawa – Hailo

By Tim Romero: Serial startup founder in Japan and indomitable innovator

Ride sharing works differently in Japan. Hailo lost the global market-share war to Uber and Lyft, but Hailo won the battle in Japan. Today, Ryo Umezawa details Hailo’s Japan market entry strategy and explains how they were able to succeed  where Uber has failed. While Uber vowed to disrupt transportation by taking on both government and industry, Hailo worked within the system. They designed and launched a platform that was completely legal and made life better for all major stakeholders, including the taxi companies. This was a battle between Uber’s disruptive innovation and Hailo’s sustaining innovation. On the global battlefield, Uber won. Uber is the world’s most valuable startup and is still growing fast, while Hailo had a cash crunch in 2016 and was acquired by Daimler. In Japan, however, Hailo won. Hailo’s sustaining innovation soundly trounced Uber’s disruptive innovation, and Hailo remains significantly larger than Uber in Japan. Of course, as you probably suspect, both companies had very different strategies in Japan than they did in the rest of the world, any Ryo explains it all in the interview. [shareaholic app="share_buttons" id="7994466"] Leave a comment Links & Resources Check out Ryo's blog Follow him on twitter @umemac Transcript Disrupting Japan, episode 68. Welcome to Disrupting Japan, straight talk from the CEOs breaking into Japan. I'm Tim Romero and thanks for listening. Today we once again turn our attention to ride sharing, but surprisingly, we won’t be talking about Uber—at least not very much. No, today we get a chance to sit down and talk with my old friend Ryo Umezawa, who is responsible for Hailo’s market entry. Now, listeners not familiar with Hailo, let me explain. Hailo is, in a way, Uber’s quiet and somewhat neglected little brother. Hailo did not make the same impact as Uber worldwide, because they followed a very different strategy. While Uber vowed to disrupt transportation by taking on all-comers, both government and industry, Hailo had a different approach. Hailo wanted to work within the system. They wanted to design a platform that was completely legal and that would make life better for all stakeholders, including the governments and taxi cab companies. In fact, their model involved working with taxi companies directly. This was very much a batter between Uber’s disruptive innovation versus Hailo’s sustaining incremental innovation. And on the global battlefield, Uber won. Uber is the world’s most valuable startup and is still growing fast, while Hailo ran into a cash crunch in 2016 and was acquired—for quite a healthy sum, mind you—and it’s still an ongoing concern. In Japan, however, Hailo won. Hailo’s sustaining innovation soundly trounced Uber’s disruptive innovation and Hailo remains significantly larger than Uber in Japan. Of course, as you probably suspect, both companies had very different strategies in Japan than they did the rest of the world. But Ryo Umezawa tells that story much better than I can. So let’s hear from our sponsor and get right to the interview. [pro_ad_display_adzone id="1411" info_text="Sponsored by" font_color="grey" ] [Interview] Tim: I’m sitting here with Ryo, the former country manager of Hailo. You’ve since moved on from Hailo, but we’re going to back up a couple of years because I think your experience with Hailo is something that a lot of people who are coming into Japan now can learn a lot from. Thanks for sitting down with us. Ryo: Thanks for inviting me to speak. Tim: Hailo is very popular in Europe and it made a good run in Japan, but I think a lot of people in the U.S. aren’t familiar with it. So can you just give a brief overview of what it does? Ryo: Okay, sure. Hailo is a British company started up in 2012. It’s a smartphone hailing app. So we basically connect drivers and users who want to ride a taxi through the app and we also help drivers basically raise revenue by utilizing ...

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