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SoftBank, Aeon, Yahoo Japan mull joint online shopping business

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- SoftBank Group Corp., Aeon Co. and Yahoo Japan Corp. are considering launching a joint online shopping business, aiming to make up ground on U.S. online retail giant Amazon.com Inc., a source close to the matter said Friday.

    The three companies are discussing a joint venture to sell food, clothing and other products by sharing their products and customers' information, according to the source. Major Japanese retailer Aeon and internet service provider Yahoo Japan are currently operating an online business.

    Japanese telecommunications and internet services giant SoftBank Group and its affiliate Yahoo Japan have experience in analyzing online markets while Aeon has a nationwide logistic network.

    In the online shopping business in Japan, major online retailer Rakuten Inc. and U.S. retail behemoth Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Japanese subsidiary Seiyu GK said in January they will set up an online supermarket, while major retailer Seven & i Holdings Co. started to sell fresh foods online to residents in parts of Tokyo in cooperation with online stationery retailer Askul Corp.

    SoftBank Group said separately Friday it will develop a taxi-hailing app for taxi operators with China's leading taxi- and ride-hailing service firm Didi Chuxing.

    The two companies will begin trial services in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Fukuoka later this year. They will use Didi's advanced artificial intelligence technology to forecast potential demand for their service.

    SoftBank Group has a stake in the Chinese company and hopes to strengthen ties through the taxi-hailing app venture.

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