Alibaba will be introducing an Alipay platform to the country early next year.
Ant Financial Services, the financial department of Alibaba, is working on tailoring the platform for the Japanese market. The platform will come in the form of an app, to which users can link a bank account or load on money, and then pay by scanning a merchant issued QR code.
The new platform will be able to integrate with Japanese banks, whereas the current platform requires a Chinese bank account. Users will also be able to make payments in China, a feature that will appeal greatly to the 2.5 million Japanese tourists and business travellers who make the journey to China each year. In total, Alibaba has the goal of attracting 10 million users in Japan within 3 years of the launch.
Lawson convenience stores in Japan also accept Alipay, along with some department stores and electronics shops, totalling 30,000 merchants. This is due to the influx of Chinese tourists to Japan. Alibaba hopes to increase this number to 50,000 by the end of the year. To encourage new merchants to start accepting Alipay, the Japanese platform will offer lifestyle features, instead of just being a standard mobile payment platform. This will allow merchants to offer promotions & discounts through the platform.
Japan's digital payment market is expected to reach 50.6bn USD this year, according to the Nomura Research Institute. In comparison to China's which will reach 2.24 trillion USD this year, Japan has lots of room for growth and could be a great investment for the Alibaba Group.