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DoorDash looks to enter Japan delivery market before it gets cold

US company posts ad for general manager position as it eyes expansion

DoorDash has posted an ad for a Japan country manager role, signaling the delivery giant's interest in Asia.  (Photo courtesy of DoorDash)

PALO ALTO, U.S. -- DoorDash is advertising for a general manager position in Japan, signaling the U.S. delivery leader is preparing to set up shop in a country with an expanding, yet largely untapped, food delivery market.

The San Francisco-based company said it is seeking talent to "play a pivotal role" in building their business in Japan, according to an ad posted on LinkedIn this week. The listing comes as Japan has declared or is preparing to declare a state of emergency in various cities, and citizens are asked to stay at home.

"This person will lead DoorDash's business in Japan, and will be responsible for our overall success in the market," the post says.

A DoorDash spokesperson confirmed the job listing to Nikkei Asia.

"We're always thinking about ways to enhance and scale our platform to serve more communities. We continually assess expansion opportunities, but there is nothing to update on at this moment in time," the spokesperson said.

Founded in 2013, DoorDash has been a clear leader in the U.S. food delivery sector since 2019, according to market intelligence company Edison Trends. It now holds about half the U.S. food delivery market, giving it a sizable lead over Uber Eats, Grubhub and others as demand skyrockets during the coronavirus pandemic. The company had a blockbuster IPO in December, with the share price jumping 86% on the first day of trading.

Despite its success in the U.S., DoorDash faces an uphill battle in Japan. The company is up against many local and international rivals including Uber Eats and Demae-can, the current front-runners in the country's food delivery market.

Meanwhile, more regional and international players are eyeing Japan because the food delivery market there is expanding quickly, driven by the pandemic, but is still mostly untapped. Only about 5% of restaurants in Japan have their own delivery fleets.

German food delivery heavyweight Delivery Hero launched its Japan operations in September. While Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing rolled out a food delivery service in Osaka in April last year.

DoorDash currently operates in over 4,000 cities across the U.S., Canada and Australia. In a previous interview with Nikkei, DoorDash co-founder and CEO Tony Xu said the company was prioritizing operations in the three countries while exploring more international opportunities.

"To me, this is a business where we want to go few and deep before we spread our wings everywhere," he said.

Additional reporting by Wataru Suzuki in Tokyo

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