PayPal and mobile operator Softbank are getting together to launch a joint venture in Japan that should extend the payment subsidiary’s reach in Asia.
It’s a 50-50 effort for PayPal, which is owned by eBay, and Softbank. Each company is investing 1 billion Japanese yen or $12.5 million into the venture and they’ll each pick three directors. Softbank Mobile’s director and senior vice president Hiroaki Kitano will be CEO of the newly formed company.
On top of that, the two companies are bringing ‘PayPal Here,’ that triangular dongle that naturally invites comparisons to Square, to Japan as well. That makes it the fifth country after the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong and Australia to get the service. While Square had a head start in the U.S. on processing payments from small businesses that wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford point-of-sale terminals, it doesn’t yet have international reach. The company only processes payments in the U.S.
PayPal says the Japanese retail commerce market alone is worth 134 trillion yen or $1.7 billion. On top of that, about 31 million smartphones will ship in the country this year. (Just for reference, there have been between 500 and 600 million Android and iOS shipments to date.) Softbank has more than 25 million mobile subscribers and is one of the biggest carriers in the country.