bitWallet, Inc., manager of the electronic money service “Edy” and member of the Rakuten Group (“bitWallet,” CEO: Yoshihisa Yamada, Head Office: Shinagawa-ku, Japan), together with GREE, Inc. (“GREE,” Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo, CEO: Yoshikazu Tanaka) introduced Edy as a payment method for social networking services (SNS) on GREE with effect from 2 June 2011.
Through this service, GREE’s 25 million-strong user base in Japan will be able to make payments with Edy when enjoying paid content such as social games. Beginning with Edy support on conventional mobile phones (see Note 1), the service will also gradually be extended to Android smartphones that are equipped with the “Osaifu-Keitai” function. The introduction of Edy is aimed at providing users with greater convenience by giving them more payment options for services on GREE, on top of conventional payment methods such as credit card or carrier billing.
In addition, a point exchange program (one point for every 200 yen) that rewards users with points that can then be used on GREE (see Note 2), will be launched this summer. Users will be eligible to participate in this program when they shop using Edy on “Osaifu-Keitai” mobile phones that have undergone the requisite procedures.
Through the introduction of this service, bitWallet and GREE hope to expand their user bases and improve awareness for both services. They also hope to increase usage of the service at more than 267,000 Edy member stores nationwide (as of the end of April 2011), which include convenience stores and supermarkets.
The two companies will continue to provide user-oriented services that combine the Internet and real-life, with the aim of enhancing user satisfaction.
(Note 1) As of 2 June 2011, the service can be used on conventional mobile phones serviced by docomo and au.
(Note 2) There are plans to reward users with “Gold” or “Coins” that can be used for paid content on GREE.
■□Overview of service□■
◆Launch date for services:
-Payment on GREE using the electronic money service, Edy: 2 June 2011 (Thursday)
-Point exchange program: Summer, 2011 (scheduled)
◆Electronic money “Edy”
Edy is a pre-paid electronic money service managed by bitWallet. It is a simple, convenient service that allows users to make payments by tapping their Edy device on an Edy terminal. Users can charge their Edy devices using credit cards, or at convenience store counters. This quick and convenient service is available to anyone, at any time, at more than 267,000 Edy member stores (as of the end of April 2011) nationwide, which include convenience stores, supermarkets, and drugstores.
◆Social networking service “GREE”
On top of the basic functions provided by typical social networking services, such as profile, diary, community, photo-sharing, and messaging services, GREE also provides entertainment elements such as social games and fortune-telling services, which focus on facilitating communication between feature phone and smartphone users.