Tencent, an internet-based technology company based in China, and LINE, a hugely popular messaging app in Japan, have teamed up to provide payment services for Japanese businesses that want to appeal to the growing number of Chinese tourists in the country, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
LINE is going to lease terminals that can be used with Tencent’s WeChat Pay system, which had 650 million active users as of the third quarter of 2015, as the company reported. The service will start in mid-December in smaller and mid-sized restaurants as well as retailers.
To start the process, the business owner enters the amount of a transaction into the terminal, which creates a QR code. The customer then scans with a smartphone to pay through either company’s service. To help stimulate a large user base, processing fees will be waived through July 2021 for stores that adopt the terminals.
Chinese tourism in Japan is growing rapidly – about 7.35 million Chinese tourists visited Japan last year, and that number has tripled from three years ago, the publication reported.
The mobile payment industry in Japan is crowded with competition. Yahoo! Japan and SoftBank Group recently announced a partnership with Alibaba to promote Alipay, which uses similar technology. Yahoo! and SoftBank also recently released a service called PayPay. Under the agreement, customers can pay with either service.
Amazon, Rakuten and wireless carrier NTT DoCoMo, as well as banks, are all expected to move in on the industry.
One of LINE’s biggest selling points is the idea that mobile payments entice people to spend more money. A Tokyo-based online payment processor said that at one souvenir store, Chinese people using Alipay spent 2.6 times more than the average, cash-paying customer.
As of Nov. 21, LINE Pay was available at an estimated one million businesses.