Almost a year after it entered the Japanese market with support from one of Japan’s biggest mapmakers, Zenrin, digital mapping startup Mapbox has announced the establishment of Mapbox Japan.
Mapbox Japan is a joint venture between California-headquartered Mapbox and Japanese technology company SoftBank. The JV would help enterprises enhance their existing mapping services and enable them to create new customizable location-based services and management tools.
Further, the JV plans to launch a special COVID-19 support package for organizations that are offering mapping services to manage and mitigate the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Mapbox Japan will offer up to 3 months of special support at no charge for organizations that utilize its map development platform to provide COVID-19 monitoring and related services between June 1 and September 30. The application to avail this special offer needs to be submitted to Mapbox Japan by May 31.
Mapbox’s first customers in Japan included the country’s leading consumer application, Yahoo! JAPAN, and Komatsu, the top construction enterprise in Japan. Globally, its customers include CNN, Facebook, IBM, Instacart, Lonely Planet, Porsche, Snap, Tableau, and The Weather Channel.
Explaining that partnering with a tech giant like SoftBank would provide the ‘future unicorn’ access to an enormous number of entities in Japan, Mapbox founder and CEO Eric Gundersen says, “We love the way discerning Japanese customers push us to continue to improve and create new solutions. The opportunity to build new local services in Japan will also help us create new global offerings.”
Meanwhile, Eric Gan, Head of Business Development of SoftBank Corp, points out that several businesses have already shown interest in the advanced AI that Mapbox employs on its mapping platform. “We are seeing a significant rise in demand for Mapbox’s products from retail, ride-share, hotel, office-sharing, payment, mobility, and manufacturing industries. We are constantly discovering new use cases for our partners,” Gan says.