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Technology

Alibaba to cash in on Japan's nascent e-payment market

China's top player in the field hunting for growth abroad

A customer pays with a smartphone using the Alipay service at a McDonald's restaurant in Beijing.

TOKYO -- China's e-commerce leader Alibaba Group Holding will bring a version of its hit smartphone-based payment platform to Japan as early as next spring, hoping the simple technology will convince many cash-reliant shoppers here to go digital.

The Japanese unit of Ant Financial Services Group, the internet giant's financial arm, will offer a version of the Alipay digital payment system tailored for the Japanese market under a new brand. Shoppers will be able to load money into or link a bank account with a dedicated app on their smartphone, and scan QR codes issued by merchants to make a payment. Merchants can also scan codes displayed on a user's phone to the same effect.

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