UPDATED 14:39 EST / JULY 08 2021

APPS

Report: Google set to acquire Japan’s Pring for $180M+ to boost fintech business

Google LLC is in talks to acquire Tokyo-based payment app provider Pring for $180 million to $270 million, Nikkei Asia reported today.

The news comes as the search giant prepares to expand its presence in the U.S. financial technology market by launching a new digital banking platform for consumers. Google’s reported acquisition talks with Pring suggests that its fintech strategy also prioritizes expansion in international markets.

Pring’s namesake payment app is one of the most popular in Japan. It enables consumers to send money to one another and make purchases at stores. Enterprises, in turn, can use Pring to reimburse employees for work-related expenses. More than 400 companies reportedly use the app.

Acquiring Pring could accelerate Google’s expansion plans in Japan. Buying an established payment app with an existing customer base could enable the search giant to grow its presence in the local fintech market faster than by acquiring customers only through organic means. Google presumably plans to offer Pring alongside Google Pay, its existing payment app, which it already offers to users in Japan.

The report about the search giant’s acquisition talks with Pring follow its announcement last year that it plans to launch a digital banking platform in the U.S. Google has partnered with more than a half-dozen banks and credit unions on the project.

The vision is that the financial institutions will manage users’ accounts, while the search giant will provide an account management interface in the Google Pay app. Consumers who sign up will also have access to budgeting tools.

Google is doubling down on fintech in a time when the segment is experiencing rapid growth. This growth is reflected in, among others, the record breaking amount of funding that fintech providers secured last quarter. CB Insights estimates that the combined value of investments in the segment reached $22.8 billion during the first three months of 2021, nearly double the amount raised a year earlier.

Offering banking services to consumers is just one of the ways Google hopes to capitalize on the market’s rapid growth. It also provides cloud services for financial institutions to help them operate more efficiently. In May, Google’s cloud business debuted Datashare, a solution designed to help organizations such as banks more easily aggregate stock price updates, research reports and the other data they use to inform their investment decisions.

A TechCrunch report published early last year indicated that Google was also working on a debit card product to rival Apple Inc.’s Apple Card. The sources who spoke to the publication claimed that the card would enable users to make purchases both in stores and online. 

The search giant’s newly reported plans to buy Pring raise the possibility that it could make additional acquisitions to grow its market share. Google could buy more regional fintech providers to expand its presence internationally, or purchase startups with financial products it doesn’t yet offer to broaden the feature set of Google Pay.

Photo: Google

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