Japan is one of our fastest-growing markets in the world and it’s only the beginning as we rapidly expand our Mobility and Delivery services. Our growing 150-person Tokyo-based team is changing the way people and things move for millions across the country. Below, we chat with Shiro Yamanaka, General Manager of Mobility for Uber Japan, and Pradeep Parameswaran, Regional General Manager for Mobility across Asia Pacific, about what they’re focused on today and what it’s like to work at Uber.
What is Mobility at Uber?
Pradeep: Our mission is to ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion for everyone by using technology and community partnership to make the future of movement shared, electric and multi-modal.
Shiro: At Uber, Mobility is not just about getting people from point A to point B, but creating opportunities for everyone and making society better by doing so.
Tell us about your role today within the Uber Mobility team.
Pradeep: I work with our regional Asia Pacific and global teams to define strategy, expand services, provide magical experiences for users, and create flexible earning opportunities available to all. To do that, I focus on building a world-class local team, nurturing environment, collaborative culture, and enable everyone to make our mission a reality.
Shiro: I lead our Japanese Mobility team to build and execute our long-term strategy. I work with highly talented and motivated people to solve complex mobility and business problems day in and day out that make a positive impact on society. What else could be more exciting?
What’s the future of mobility in Asia Pacific and Japan?
Pradeep: My aspiration is to make Uber available to everyone in Asia Pacific. That means bringing the magic of Uber to people moving in an UberX, and also those using taxis, trains, buses, two-wheelers, and three-wheelers. We are a microcosm of the world with developed and emerging markets, countries with advanced transport infrastructure and those without. But all countries are adopting technology and with that means we can bring the magic of the Uber app to people across the region.
Shiro: Japan has such large untapped potential in mobility that can be unlocked by technology and I’m convinced that Uber can help play an important role. By adopting advanced technologies, I also think Japan can lead problem-solving for many of the same mobility challenges faced by a number of countries globally. Our society is also becoming more aware of the potential, evident from the fact that Digital Transformation has been one of the most talked-about buzzwords in recent years here.
What motivates you about the work that you do?
Pradeep: It’s rare to work with such extraordinarily talented people at a mission-driven company that’s committed to helping solve one of the hardest problems facing humanity, sustainability, by making cities less congested and reducing emissions. That’s why our vision of shared, electric and multi-modal mobility is so exciting.
Uber is a place where we aim high, move fast, embrace failures, and pride ourselves on driving change at scale. That makes it exciting. That also makes it hard. On any given day, I could be jamming with our operations teams on launching a new reservation service, jointly visioning with our product teams in building a new service, or learning from our research teams on how we can make the Uber app a viable alternative to owning a car.
Shiro: A great thing about working at Uber is our clear mission. We make lives better by moving people and things, and we do our best every day to meet it. Among our nimble team, there is not a bit of hesitation to think outside of the box and try something new. We’d rather try and learn from failure to improve than not doing something, and you can see that attitude everywhere in the company.
What are the most interesting challenges you need to solve?
Pradeep: Driving continued innovation and partnership, and replicating that in other countries around the world.
Shiro: Japan is known to be technologically advanced, yet many people are not comfortable being the first to do something. Being a fast-moving company, one of the unique challenges we face here is encouraging our partners to try new approaches and improve together. In the end, it all comes down to our commitment in the country and the long-term trust-building my team and I continuously hone.
Why is now a great time to join the Mobility team in Japan?
Pradeep: Japan is one of the last major frontiers for ride-hailing and a country that’s critical to fulfill our vision of future mobility. For a variety of historical reasons, ride-hailing is still in its infancy. However, we are now seeing more broad adoption and riders seeing the benefit of using Uber. Equally, we see lawmakers thinking about how to bring cutting-edge technology to all industries in Japan, including making changes to many existing ways of working. This is a unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the rush of building a business like Uber from the ground up, leveraging all the amazing assets of Uber globally and localizing our solutions to earners and platform users in Japan.
Shiro: Many people are starting to realize the better future that technology can bring even for a seemingly traditional industry like mobility, and I expect many changes will happen in the next few years. If you join now, you will get to experience a large socioeconomic transformation firsthand and also play a big part in shaping the future of how people move in Japan. It’s a rare opportunity and an exciting one for those who aspire to make a positive impact on society.