The news (extracted from Nikkei Asian Review):
- Alibaba will bring a localized version of its hit smartphone-based payment platform to Japan as soon as early next year.
- Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial arm, will offer a variant of its Alipay digital payment system tailored for the Japanese market under a new brand.
- Using Alipay itself requires a Chinese bank account, but the Japanese version will be compatible with Japanese bank accounts. Ant aims to attract 10 million users within three years, who will also be able to make payments in China soon after the launch.
Why it matters:
- Japanese consumers have been slow off the mark in adopting mobile payments technology, despite Japan being one of the first places where it was publicly available. But research indicates attitudes are changing, while the competitive landscape has also begun to heat up.
- Alipay has attained such a level of penetration in its home market that it is now exploring foreign expansion to sustain growth.
- As Alipay requires a Chinese bank account, its extant availability in Japan and elsewhere is typically aimed at Chinese tourists and expats. With this localized version, the company is directly targeting Japanese customers – and the significant growth opportunity they present.
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