Big tech firm Google is reported to be planning a push into Japan's financial services market
According to Nikkei, Google is in talks to acquire Tokyo-based cashless payment provider pring in a deal that could enable Google to offer financial services of its own rather than being reliant on partner banks and credit card companies.
Pring is currently owned by Mizuho Bank and a number of investors and Google is reportedly set to pay between $180m and $270m for all of the company's shares.
The cashless payment market in Japan is in a relatively immature state compared to other countries where there has been wider adoption of alternative payment methods. Japan's share of cashless payment in retail transactions was just under 30% in 2020, compared with 70-90% in South Korea and China.
While the smartphone operated service Google Pay is present in Japan, it is reliant on partnering with credit card and pre-paid card providers to offer financial services.
Pring currently provides payments, cash transfers, and withdrawals via smartphones and computers to its clients. It also has over 400 corporate customers who use the service to make small payments to other business owners or offer reimbursements to customers.
Through the acquisition, Google may look to use pring's existing network to offer financial services of its own, such as payments and transfers, some time in 2022, reports Nikkei.