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Business

Yahoo Japan to add PayPal option, broaden travel booking

TOKYO -- Yahoo Japan will strengthen its online hotel booking service via two recent acquisitions, hoping to capture demand from foreigners visiting Japan.

     The company will introduce U.S. service PayPal as a payment option in July to system developer Dynatech's booking system covering about 2,400 hotels across Japan. Yahoo acquired Dynatech last year.

     PayPal users can pay simply by entering an email address and password -- accessing preregistered credit card information. The service eliminates the burden of entering a name, address and card number for each purchase, and offers a better sense of security. PayPal has 180 million users worldwide and handles transactions of $280 billion a year. It has about 1 million users in Japan.

     PayPal will inform its members that hotels can be booked via Dynatech. Dynatech will tout its service to lodging businesses, highlighting prospects of demand from foreigners visiting Japan. Dynatech has a 20% market share in booking systems and aims to raise it to around 30% by 2020.

     Yahoo also will set up a booking site via Ikyu, which became a subsidiary in February. Ikyu's existing site covers accommodations priced between 50,000 yen and 60,000 yen ($443 and $531) per night per person. The new site to launch in April will offer a price range of 30,000 yen to 40,000 yen for people seeking features other than luxury. About 1,000 Japanese-style hotels and resorts will be covered. Searches can be narrowed by filters related to hot springs, food and pet accommodation.

     Yahoo aims to jazz up its own travel booking services as well. Its Yahoo Travel site currently lists much information from other companies, including some 400 accommodations covered by Dynatech. Yahoo seeks to offer more unique services and plans to catch up with rivals like Rakuten.

     Travel-related e-commerce serving consumers totaled about 2.63 trillion yen in 2014, accounting for nearly 60% of the service sector, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.

     Rakuten and Recruit Holdings each have market shares of over 20%. Yahoo aims to tap the two newly acquired units to prepare for market expansion.

(Nikkei)

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