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Business trends

Amazon and SoftBank vie to take Japan cashless

Cheap phone payment services for smaller businesses emerge as battleground

Amazon's and SoftBank's Japanese mobile payment services will use QR codes, as does the existing Line Pay.
Amazon's and SoftBank's Japanese mobile payment services will use QR codes, as does the existing Line Pay.

TOKYO -- Amazon.com and SoftBank will both roll out smartphone payment services in Japan over the coming months, it was learned Wednesday, contending to woo the smaller businesses critical to spreading mobile payments in a still cash-heavy society.

The platforms offered by the U.S. online retail giant and the Japanese tech and investment powerhouse will require minimal investment by merchants. That approach is friendly to smaller businesses -- a group that is estimated to account for about 90% of Japan's shops -- for whom obtaining specialized equipment is a heavy burden.

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