Uber Japan Chief Masami Takahashi Is Said to Leave for WeWorkBy
Uber has struggled to build ride-hailing business in Japan
WeWork to begin offering office space in Japan in February
Masami Takahashi, president of Uber Technologies Inc. in Japan, is leaving the ride-hailing company to join WeWork Cos. in the country, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Takahashi will join the co-working space provider as it prepares to start operations in Japan, the people said, asking to not be identified because the details are private. SoftBank Group Corp. is a backer of WeWork, the world’s eighth-most valuable startup, and is considering an investment of as much as $10 billion in Uber.
Uber confirmed Takahashi is leaving the company while declining to comment further. WeWork didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Uber has struggled to make significant inroads in Japan, where it has less than 1 percent of monthly rides in Tokyo, the world’s biggest cab market. The San Francisco-based company has clashed with taxi companies and regulators around the world, but in the Japanese capital it has played by the rules, limiting operations to black-car hire services and UberEATS food delivery.
WeWork Japan, a joint venture with SoftBank, has an aggressive global expansion initiative, including plans to open 10 to 20 locations in Tokyo with the first three to open in February.
Takahashi began his career at Sony Corp.’s TV division and is a graduate of the University of Chicago and INSEAD, according to his LinkedIn profile. He joined Uber in 2014 and has become well-known in Japan for promoting Uber’s business and pushing for changes, regularly speaking at startup conferences and appearing on national television.
He started a ride-sharing trial in Fukuoka city, which was shut down in 2015 on orders from the Transport Ministry. Takahashi then shifted gears, rolling out an unusual ride-sharing program in a tiny town called Tangocho, where it operates a transportation service for old people who were looking for a way to get around after buses and taxis left the small city.