KDDI, Lawson to Unify Loyalty Point Programs

Economy

Tokyo, Dec. 16 (Jiji Press)--Mobile phone carrier KDDI Corp. <9433> said Monday that it and convenience store operator Lawson Inc. <2651> will form a capital and business alliance featuring the integration of the loyalty point programs linked to the two Japanese companies.

KDDI will acquire about a 20 pct stake in the operator of the "Ponta" loyalty point program, which is currently owned by Lawson, its parent, trading house Mitsubishi Corp. <8058>, and other firms. The mobile carrier will also buy a stake of about 2 pct in Lawson for some 12 billion yen.

The mobile carrier will integrate its own loyalty program into Ponta in May next year or later, aiming to promote smartphone-based payment services as its telecommunications business has been facing slow growth.

Lawson hopes to boost its profits on the back of the partnership, which will raise the number of Ponta users to over 100 million.

The KDDI-Lawson partnership comes at a time when Japanese mobile carriers are fiercely competing for customers through smartphone payment and reward point services.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press