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Singtel expands cross-border payments alliance with Japan mobile payments tech firm addition

SINGTEL'S cross-border mobile payments alliance VIA has added a new member, Japanese mobile payments technology firm Netstars, the telco announced on Monday. 

Netstars will enable its network of 100,000 stores in Japan to accept QR code payments made through e-wallets that are part of the VIA network - Singtel Dash, AIS GLOBAL Pay and soon Kasikornbank's K Plus and Axiata Digital's Boost Malaysia e-wallets.

K Plus and Boost's cross-border functionality will only be rolled out in the next few months. K Plus joined the VIA alliance when it was launched in October. Boost Malaysia was added two weeks ago. 

Netstars' existing network of merchants includes retail outlets and food and beverage outlets at airports, shopping malls, tourist attractions and transportation areas in Japan. It aims to grow its merchant base to one million stores in Japan by end-2020.

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The addition of Netstars to VIA marks the alliance's debut in North Asia, said Arthur Lang,  CEO of Singtel's international group, in a media statement on Monday. 

"VIA’s steady expansion has taken it beyond our associate markets, and now beyond telco e-wallets and South-east Asia. These partnerships to grow cross-border mobile payments continue to add further momentum to the Singtel Group’s goal of empowering consumers and enabling them to transact seamlessly across borders," he said. 

Tsuyoshi Ri, CEO of Netstars, added in the statement: “We are delighted to join the VIA alliance and collaborate with  Singtel to welcome more mobile payment users from South-east Asia. Together we will bring convenience to both customers and stores as Netstars expands its store network.”