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Five At Five: Rakuten Takes On Amazon

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Welcome to Five at Five, your late look at the day’s payments and commerce news. Today’s coverage includes the latest plan to challenge Amazon, along with PayPal’s expansion of its money transfer service. Google also has new plans for digital payments, while Bose thinks bigger about speakers. Meanwhile, Toyota makes a major investment.

Rakuten Reveals Its Plan to Take on Amazon

Though a powerful player since its launch by CEO Hiroshi Mikitani more than 20 years ago, Rakuten has since lost ground to Amazon and increasingly relied on credit cards, online banking and other financial services for growth.

PayPal’s Xoom Makes Remittance Deal With Euronet’s Ria

PayPal has increased its foothold in Eastern Europe and Africa, and has boosted its presence in the global remittance market, through a new partnership agreement.

Bose Launches Smart Speakers With Alexa Built In

The speakers will support other voice assistants in the future, as well as AirPlay 2 for streaming from Apple devices in the early part of next year. The smart speaker and soundbars use the proprietary mic technology found in Bose headsets and headphones to hear commands better over louder listening levels.

Google’s Tez App Gets an Overhaul as It Expands Reach

The Tez app is being rebranded Google Pay — the digital payment service Google operates in 20 countries. Additionally, Google aims to move Tez beyond its current offering, which includes bank-based payments, bill and utility payments and messaging.

Toyota Invests $500 Million in Uber as Part of New Partnership

The investment on the part of Toyota values Uber at around $72 billion, which is higher than the valuation SoftBank gave the ride-hailing company earlier in 2018.

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