Briefing: Alibaba, Tencent to help standardize QR code payment in Japan

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Japan to unify mobile payment codes, enlisting Chinese giants – Nikkei Asian Review

What happened: Chinese tech giants Alibaba and Tencent are among the five internet companies that will help Japan standardize QR code payment. Other companies also taking part in this endeavor include Japanese messaging service Line, e-commerce platform Mercari, and mobile carrier NTT Docomo.

Why it’s important: Mobile payment has become increasingly popular in Japan, but it is fragmented. There are more than a dozen payment service providers in the space and each has its own QR code standard. China’s leadership in cashless payments has nurtured homegrown payment companies which are eager to make inroads into other countries. Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay, two of the most widely used mobile payment apps in China, aren’t new to the Japanese market. In November, Tencent partnered with Line in a bid to expand WeChat Pay’s reach in Japan. Similarly, Alibaba joined hands with Yahoo last year to increase its presence in the country.