When it comes to getting a ride in the United States, most Americans think of two companies: Uber and Lyft. We certainly do not think of the Japanese telecom and tech giant SoftBank. That all could change if SoftBank's current trend, acquiring application based taxi companies in foreign markets, makes its way to the United States.
SoftBank ended 2014 and began 2015 by making key investments in Ola from India ($210 million), GrabTaxi from Southeast Asia ($250 million) and recently Kuadi Dache of China for a huge $600 million. That is a lot of money invested into the taxi on-demand market. While these investments are all in the Asian and Indian market, that is not to say that SoftBank does not have its sight set on another lucrative market; the US. SoftBank is an investor in the hugely popular e-commerce site Alibaba, which should be noted made an investment of $250 million into Lyft, Uber's major competitor in the United States. It could be possible that SoftBank will use its partnership with Alibaba to make an inroad here in the United States.
But why would a telecom giant such as SoftBank want to invest in such applications and companies? One possible answer might be that Uber and companies like it, are set to become major players in the logistics market. There is a huge amount of potential for growth in this area, and the early players will reap the highest rewards. Uber is already providing Uber Cargo, an on-demand cargo service in Hong Kong. With Uber already making progress towards becoming a player in the logistics market, other companies will be forced to catch up costing large amounts of money and marketing power. SoftBank has no shortage of either of those two requirements.
If anything this goes to show how the mobile market has changed commerce around the world. Businesses are forced to take on ever-evolving roles to remain competitive and to keep the bottom line firmly in the black. Those, who cannot adapt, will eventually fall to the wayside. With its new source of revenue and a lot of potential growth possibilities from its new acquisitions, SoftBank is poised to be around for a long time to come. It remains to be seen if SoftBank were to attempt to make its way into the American Taxi service market, that they could edge out the entrenched Uber. But if their foreign strategies pan out and bring them revenue, we can bet that we will see them try.