Japan’s e-commerce juggernaut Rakuten and the country’s 2nd largest telco KDDI au have announced a strategic linkup focused on electronic money today. Under the agreement, Rakuten’s Edy electronic money system will be combined with KDDI au’s mobile checkout infrastructure “to integrate more online and offline services”.
The goal of the new service, dubbed Edy | au, is clear: to make it easier to spend money for au, Edy, and Rakuten customers. Edy | au is scheduled to start this August in Japan, but Rakuten and KDDI are already planning to bring it to other parts of Asia, too.
Here’s the important part of the press release (not online yet/bitWallet is a Rakuten group company):
The birth of a new service “Edy | au”
With the signing of the letter of understanding, the two companies have created a new service
known as “Edy | au.” As part of this new service, from August 4, 2011, bitWallet, Inc.
(Headquarters: Shinagawa City; President and CEO: Yoshihisa Yamada; hereafter “bitWallet”)
will enable au Kantan Kessai service users the ability to choose Edy as a payment option.
With this service, customers will also be able to charge their Edy cards via“au Simple Payment
Service.” In addition, those who have mobile phone contracts with au will be able to pay
charged amounts for Edy cards together with their au phone bills. From September 27, 2011, an
“Edy Autocharge” option allowing smartphone customers to automatically charge their Edy
accounts when connected to the Internet will also be added to “au Simple Payment Service”.
Both companies expect that the usage of electronic money will increase as smartphones take
hold and become more common throughout society. In addition to the provision of safe and
convenient electronic money services, the two companies are currently discussing collaborative
marketing, business, NFC projects, and other promotions and campaigns that might be
attempted in the future.
Introduction of au Kantan Kessai to Rakuten Ichiba
This coming fall there are also currently plans to eventually introduce “au Simple Payment
Service”. to Rakuten Ichiba . It is expected that as the number of devices and networks available
increases, the number of opportunities customers have to make use of a variety of Internet
services will increase as well. While each customer is likely to have varied needs regarding
payments, it is believed that the importance of credit cards and electronic money will greatly
increase. Rakuten is always looking for ways to make Rakuten Ichiba more convenient for its
customers, and it hopes that the addition of “au Simple Payment Service”. as a payment option
will do just that. The company will work to increase the number of users of both services.
In addition to providing new services to meet the needs of their customers in Japan, moving
forward, KDDI and Rakuten plan to strike business collaboration agreements overseas, starting
with Asia. The companies hope to expand their business operations through the creation of a
new business collaboration model.