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Business trends

Japan's Line Pay throws down gauntlet to Alipay

Chat app operator aims to win Japanese over to cashless payment

"We are pushing through payment revolution," said Line CEO Takeshi Idezawa in an annual business strategy event in Urayasu, Chiba, on Thursday. (Photo by Keiichiro Sato)

TOKYO -- Japanese chat app operator Line unveiled a new service Thursday aimed at spreading mobile payment across Japan, in the most potent challenge yet by a Japanese operator to the dominant Chinese mobile payment platform, Alipay.

The move is an ambitious attempt to break Japanese people's habit of using cash for every transaction. Cashless transactions account for only 18% of personal expenditure in Japan, compared with 45% in the U.S. and 60% in China, according to data from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

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