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It fails to click in Japan, so Uber to start food delivery service

Opposition from a powerful taxi lobby and laws barring non-professionals from ferrying customers have caused problems for Uber in Japan. Photograph: (Reuters)

WION Tokyo, Japan Sep 28, 2016, 06.23 AM (IST)

Uber Technologies announced today that it will launch UberEats, Uber's food delivery service in Japan. The service will be operational from Thursday, September 29, and initially will deliver in central Tokyo. 

The UberEats app can be downloaded on iOS, android or the desktop computer. Dishes from about 150 restaurants will be available to customers, ranging from budget restaurants to fine dining. 

The delivery will be free at first but charges are expected to be applied later. UberEats is functional in six countries, and is planning to expand in 22 more. 

Daisuke Nomura, owner and chef of Sougo, a Michelin two-star restaurant said, "I have used the car service, and so I trust the brand and the quality of its service," AFP reported. 

Uber expanding its service range

Uber has been unsuccessul in the Asian market, with China asking the company to leave just two months after its entry. Uber is facing stiff competition from regional businesses like Singapore-based Grab and Go-jek based in Indonesia, Reuters reported. 

Opposition from a powerful taxi lobby and laws barring non-professionals ferrying customers has caused obstacles for Uber in Japan. Currently, the taxi-service connects customers to professional taxi drivers. 

Japan recently started two ride-hailing pilot services for the elderly in Japan's rural areas. 

Uber venturing into other services indicates it is being smarter about branching out according to customer demand. 

Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research in Utah, said, "Uber seems to be getting smarter about the mix of services they will offer in various parts of the world, in response to cultural differences, regulation, and competition". 

She added, "It seems to be less willing to simply barge into new markets while ignoring regulations or objections than in the past."

(WION with inputs from agencies)

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