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Mobile payment rides tourism wave from China to Japan

Smartphone-based payments are becoming the norm in China.

SHANGHAI -- Japanese retailers are rushing to adopt smartphone-based payment systems to court Chinese tourists, who have embraced this easy, reliable method of shopping.

At many stores in China, shoppers can pay by scanning unique QR (Quick Response) codes, a form of two-dimensional barcode, displayed on their smartphones and other mobile devices. Such a system costs little to set up compared with the dedicated smartcard and chip scanners common in Japan, lowering barriers to entry for smaller businesses and individual merchants. This type of simple, reliable payment is catching on quickly as a successor to debit cards, which are much more widely used in this country than credit cards.

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