Red hot payments startup Square is invading Asia after it announced that its service has launched in Japan, which becomes its third market worldwide in addition to the US and Canada.
The company — which counts Starbucks among its investors — will be supported by Sumitomo Mitsui Card Corporation, the same firm that co-launched Visa in the country. Square has long been linked with a launch in Japan (TNW has heard whispers of an early-stage recruitment drive and domain name acquisition since December 2012) and the expansion makes a lot of sense given the relative maturity of mobile payments among consumers in the country.
The Japanese service will be the same as in North America, taking a 3.25 percent of the cut of transactions across its platform with no contract or additional fees.
Square is by no means the first overseas firm to launch a payment solution in Japan. Arch-rival PayPal partnered with SoftBank back in 2011, creating a joint venture to manage its PayPal Here service, while a range of domestic players, including local e-commerce giant Rakuten, are involved in the space.
Jack Dorsey, Square CEO and co-founder, has had much successin Japan already with Twitter, and he’s optimistic on continuing that with his other startup:
I am honored to introduce Square to a country with a rich history of design, innovation and tradition. Square shares the same values and attention to detail in our products. Our tools are made to enable business owners to create a delightful, seamless experience for their customers. I look forward to Square assisting in Japan’s continued economic growth and entrepreneurship opportunities.
The timing of the news is particularly interesting since it comes off the back of news of the departure of Vice President of Partnerships Alex Petrov and Vice President of International Alyssa Cutright which was revealed yesterday.
Cutright, who departed in March, had been responsible for the company’s first international expansion into Canada. The dismissal of Petrov was more bewildering since he was hired from PayPal at the beginning of May, and left without actually starting at Square.
Square’s absence from Europe is all the more marked following its entrance into Asia, but that hasn’t stopped the local payments in Europe scene from blossoming. Startups like Rocket Internet-backed Payleven, Sweden’s iZettle and SumUp in Germany have raised significant funding, introduced requisite Chip & PIN solutions and are expanding across the continent at pace.
Ever the advocate of his companies’ services, Dorsey — who earlier teased a significant news announcement via Twitter — posted a Vine to mark the occasion.