After revolutionizing transactions in India, digital payments company PayTM seeks to conquer Japan


  • Indian digital payments company PayTM, just launched an app ‘PayPay’ in Japan in collaboration with Yahoo Japan and Softbank.
  • While Japan’s government has been pushing for more cashless transactions, just 20% of payments currently made in the country are digital.
  • The country’s local banks are yet to roll out their own platforms, which gives PayPay an advantage as one of the first digital wallets on the scene.
Until now, Japanese brands like Suzuki and Toyota are the ones that have made their way into the Indian market. Bucking that trend is Indian e-commerce website and digital payments company PayTM, which just launched in Japan as ‘PayPay’.

While Japan is usually a world leader when it comes to technology, like Bitcoin, only 20% of the transactions in the country are currently digital according to CyberSource. In contrast, digital transactions account for 40-60% of online payments in the US and most of the European countries, according to the US Consumer Payments Study.

The Japanese Conundrum

PayTM’s foray into Japan has been aided by Softbank and Yahoo Japan, and comes at a time when the Japanese government is pushing for digital payments to take off in the country.

With Japan being next in line to host the Olympics, its government has been pushing for people and business models to accommodate digital transactions in order to stimulate more spending during the event.

The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has already put forward a number of proposals, one of which includes increasing the ratio of cashless payments to 80% of all account settlements going forward.

PayTM’s entry into the Japanese market may be good news for people, should they choose to switch to digital payments, but banks have a reason to worry. According to reports, financial entities in the country have already started working on platforms that use QR-codes and blockchain technology but they’re yet to make their way into the market.

It was easier for European economies to switch over to digital wallets because they were already used to using checks to pay, say experts, and in China, QR codes were a necessity in the face of increasing instances of counterfeit currency. But, in Japan, ATMs are easy to find and counterfeit currency isn’t an issue.

PayTM is trying to encourage adoption by incentivising users, offering up ¥500 (₹328) in their accounts once they’ve downloaded the app PayPay and authenticated it using their mobile numbers. It is also not charging users or any kind of payment made using a QR-code scan for the next three years.

In India, PayTM was the first payment app to cross over 100 million downloads in 2017.
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