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Japan to collaborate on Chinese payment services with joint QR code

Written by Nikkei Asia Published on   2 mins read

The industry is aiming to start mutual use of QR code payment systems in Southeast Asia and India by Expo 2025 Osaka.

Efforts are underway between Japan and other Asian countries to allow mutual access and use of QR code payment services that are popular in their own countries. Japan has started talks with Southeast Asian countries and India to enable joint use of the digital payment services by 2025.

Yoshio Fukuda, general director of the Payments Japan Association, which operates the country’s standardized QR code payment system called JPQR, said Japan will also collaborate with individual Chinese digital payment services, in a recent interview with Nikkei.

Fukuda talked about the aims and prospects of mutual use of QR codes.

Nikkei Asia (NA): Why is a unified standard for QR payments necessary?

Yoshio Fukuda (YF): Code payment services are now available from several operators in Japan alone. In stores, each QR code must be presented next to the cash register, which takes time and effort. Therefore, JPQR was created to unify the codes into a single code in Japan and to enable the use of services provided by various companies.

JPQR was formulated in accordance with international standards, which facilitates cooperation with unified standards in other countries. We are aiming to launch cooperation with Asian countries by the time of the Osaka World Expo to be held in 2025, when many visitors are expected. Preparations are underway with eight countries, including Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and India. A single code will be able to handle payments from hundreds of Asian payment businesses.

NA: Is there a rivalry with Chinese payment services?

YF: We will cooperate, not counter. Since there is no unified standard in China, we will work together with individual services. China’s UnionPay and WeChat Pay have already joined JPQR for the Japanese domestic market. We have begun discussions with UnionPay as an association to allow Japanese traveling to China to make payments using codes from the other side. We would like to reach out to WeChat Pay in the future.

NA: How widely used is JPQR in Japan?

YF: Currently, there are approximately 15,000 stores that have installed the system. Some stores are not yet aware of JPQR, and compared to the major code payments that are already available on a per-million-store basis, there is still room for us to grow.

We are looking for businesses to develop franchisees to promote the program. The association aims to introduce at least 100,000 stores by the end of this fiscal year, mainly in Japan’s western Kansai region so that visitors to the Expo can use them.

This article first appeared on Nikkei Asia. It has been republished here as part of 36Kr’s ongoing partnership with Nikkei.


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