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Japanese Version Alipay Is Coming

2019-04-02 13:36 Tuesday


Chat app operator Line and online secondhand marketplace Mercari have teamed up to seek for the dominance in Japan's cashless payment service. Users of the two companies' apps will be able to make payments through Quick Response or QR codes at either company's affiliated stores.

Line and Mercari

Both Line and Mercari have their own cashless payment systems, called Line Pay and Merpay. However, there are also many other companies providing similar mobile payment services, which resulted in a complicated array of payment systems.

The two companies will work together to increase the number of retail outlets that accept their cashless payment service. In the future, they will explore the possibility of collaborating in their online services as well, said Merpay CEO Naoki Aoyagi. The two companies will also seek for cooperation with other operators, including Rakuten and Yahoo Japan, to ensure a united mobile payment standard.

These companies all bet that Japan, one of the most heavily cash-dependent economies in the world, will transform into a cashless society under a strong push by the government. Last year, Japanese government set a goal of doubling the cashless payment rate to 40% by 2027 -- and ultimately to 80%.

In China, mobile payment service is dominated by two platforms -- Alipay by Ant Financial and WeChatPay by Tencent. In Southeast Asia, GrabPay and Go-Jek are among the platforms rapidly spreading across borders.

Tokyo-based Line, a subsidiary of Korean internet portal Naver, is the first in Japan to roll out mobile payment services on a large scale to become Japan's answer to China's Alipay, the most dominant platform in the region.

Line has taken advantage of its strong presence among smartphone users in Japan, Indonesia and Thailand. It has 79 million users in Japan, and 44 million in Thailand. Brick-and-mortar banks have sought partnership with Line to reach younger users.

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