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PayPal beds Softbank to spawn mobile cash in Japan

New joint venture will make Japanese mobes into wallets

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PayPal has launched a joint venture with Japanese internet and mobile firm Softbank to build a digital payments business in the country.

The two firms will invest ¥1bn each – making up a total of $25m (£15.5m) – in PayPal Japan. The new venture will be led by six directors – each of the two firms will nominated three – and Hiroaki Kitano, director of Softbank Mobile, who will be the CEO.

To kick off the collaboration, the new firm will launch mobile payments system PayPal Here in Japan, which will become just the fifth country to get the service after the US, Canada, Hong Kong and Australia. The service is a global system that accepts credit and debit cards as well as PayPal payments on Android smartphones and iPhones.

"Our Softbank partnership and launch of PayPal Here will make it easier for millions of merchants in Japan to grow their businesses and for consumers to easily pay anytime, anywhere,” John Donahoe, president and CEO of PayPal parent eBay, said in a canned statement.

According to PayPal, its PayPal Here service is especially aimed at small businesses, because it allows them to accept credit and debit card payments on the go in an inexpensive fashion, using just a smartphone and a "fully encrypted thumb-sized card reader".

Instead of paying to have a merchant account to accept card payments, businesses can instead buy the card reader for ¥1,200 ($15, £9.30) and give PayPal 5 per cent of every transaction.

Customers will also be getting the newest Japanese version of the PayPal app, which helps users locate shops that accept PayPal Here payments and fork over the cash with a quick tap on their phone. The business will then receive the customer's name and picture so that it can verify the payment. ®

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