This is an email from Tokyo FinTech Digest, a newsletter by Tokyo FinTech.
Greetings from Tokyo!
In noteworthy developments this week, PayPay, Japan’s leading payment app, published their latest usage statistics, SBI Holdings makes their fifth equity investment in a regional bank, we notice the appointment of a foreign CEO at one of Japan’s industrial giants, and in global news, a Nigerian payment startup has been acquired for USD 200m.
PayPay, the joint venture between SoftBank, Yahoo! Japan and Indian Paytm (previously reported on in January, February, and August 2019, as well as in May 2020), announced that it reached 33m registered users on October 19, 2020, over 2.6m merchants, and an average of 160m payment transactions in the second quarter of the fiscal year. For the Myna-Points promotion campaign that started on September 1, 2020 (the “My Number” being somewhat equivalent to the US Social Security Number or the Indian Aadhar, both of which are much more widely used), PayPay reported 1.5m registrations and the #1 position as a Myna-Points business, where a single provider needs to be picked to receive the incentives. Having also launched mini apps, well known as a concept from Chinese giant WeChat, more innovation from PayPay and its partners can be expected on the platform.
SBI Holdings and regional bank Towa announced this week their capital tie-up, which is SBI’s fifth with a regional banking group, and continues the implementation of its strategy announced about a year ago at Nikkei’s FINSUM conference to create a “Fourth Mega Bank” by ultimately rolling up all these investments into its own bank holding company.
As reported by Reuters, Mitsubishi Chemical said on Friday it has appointed Belgium-born Jean-Marc Gilson as its next chief executive officer and president, effective April 2021. The 56-year old will lead a company with approximately USD 35bn in annual revenue and 70,000 employees globally.
Gilson, currently CEO of French plant-based ingredient maker Roquette Group, will join a short list of foreign CEOs at listed Japanese companies, with the most prominent being Christophe Weber at Takeda Pharmaceuticals.
A 21-year veteran of Dow Chemical, Gilson is expected to revive the potential of a company that has suffered a severe decline in earnings power over the past years, from JPY 147 per share in the fiscal year ending March 2018 to JPY 38 in 2020, and a projected sub-JPY 28 for the current year.
In news from another region, Nigerian payments startup Paystack has been acquired by Stripe in a deal rumored to be worth over USD 200m. Timely news, we think, as we have just recorded our first podcast with the winners of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity’s startup challenge. POKET, a company originally from Toronto, has been initially active in Nigeria and Pakistan, based on the background of its founders. Kamil, one of the founders, believes that “such an acquisition would have been unfathomable only a few years ago.” Please tune in to learn more about these fascinating markets.
Tokyo FinTech μu
We have launched Tokyo FinTech μu — the micro university on our YouTube channel. We aim to bring you digestible nuggets of learning about finance & technology, from Japan and beyond, and address the most common questions we receive from startups looking at Japan in this format.
Please take a look at the first two episodes, covering Japan’s declining & ageing population, as well as the risk aversion and uncertainty avoidance that are so pronounced in the Japanese culture, and make Japanese corporates generally late adopters.
eXponential Finance Podcast
As mentioned above, we released an episode with Kamil Shafiq, POKET’s co-founder, and winner in the category “Inclusive Trade” at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity’s startup challenge. POKET provide a crowd-sourced platform for mapping places of interest in frontier markets.
We also caught up with Rohit Taneja, Founder & CEO at Decentro, a Y Combinator 2020 alumni, who is onto his second venture, solving the problems he encountered with his first when connecting with individual banks for payments. Decentro provides an open banking platform for India’s fast-growing e-commerce market.
We are building an interesting slate of webinars for November. Please join us live if you can.
- Key Building Blocks of DeFi, Regulations and Compliance, with Pawel Kuskowski, CEO at Coinfirm, and Joerg Schmidt, Foreign Associate at So & Sato, on Wednesday, November 4
- Embedded Finance: an opportunity to grow exponentially, hosted by our friends at Upvest, with Leda Glyptis and Michael O'Loughlin, on Thursday, November 5
- Starting with “Why”: How to anchor an IT Strategy in an Uncertain World, with Christopher Scheidel, on Wednesday, November 11
That is it from me this week. If you like this bulletin, please forward it to a friend (or two).
Please stay healthy and in good spirits!