Japan's SBI allies with Vietnam's FPT to launch retail reward program

22, Apr. 2019

TOKYO, Kyodo - Japanese financial service group SBI Holdings Inc. has allied with Vietnamese information and communication technology giant FPT Corp. to launch a retail point rewards program in the Southeast Asian country.

SBI will establish Utop Joint Stock Co. with FPT Software Co., FPT's subsidiary, to launch the Utop point service by June, SBI spokesman Akihide Kimura told NNA on Thursday.

The local unit will be capitalized at $3 million, with SBI holding a majority stake, he said.

The two groups have tested the Utop point rewards program since December 2018, promoting the use of points available at various retail outlets, SBI said in a statement on Wednesday.

The joint venture will initially provide the service for the FPT group and its clients, later expanding to other businesses, it said. The group employs over 34,000 workers.

Many such loyalty programs have become widespread among consumers across Vietnam, resulting in their handling different types of cards and applications, according to SBI.

The Japan-Vietnam joint venture makes use of akaChain, the FPT group's blockchain technology, to reduce the cost of introducing the Utop program for member retailers, the statement said.

SBI has invested in FTP's group arms such as securities, fund management and banking units as well as acquiring a 20.8 percent stake in Sen Do Technology Joint Stock Co., the operator of a leading consumer-to-consumer online marketplace under the Vietnamese IT group. (NNA/Kyodo)