This Professionals series showcases talented experts who support PayPay’s operations.
For this interview, we spoke with Yasuda-san, Yanase-san, and Kawada-san, the three leaders of PayPay’s financial business. What does PayPay envision for the future of finance?
Affiliation: Executive Vice-President, Co-COO, Corporate Officer and Group Head of the Finance Business Group
From January 2022, he has been in charge of financial business as Director, Executive Vice President, COO of PayPay Inc. Previously, he served as Director, Senior Executive Officer and CRO of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. and General Manager of the Market Business Division of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. He also served as Executive Vice President of Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
Division Head, Finance Business Strategy Division
After first joining Vodafone Corp., he subsequently worked in Vodafone Group Marketing, SoftBank Mobile Corp. Product & Service Division, SoftBank U.S. Inc. as the Product Strategy Manager, and SoftBank Corp. Business Development Division as the Fintech Business Planning Manager. He joined PayPay in August 2018 and is in charge of financial services (Pay Later, bonus management, insurance mini app) and mini apps (UberEats, DiDi, PayPay Mall, PayPay Flea Market, Accelerator Program).
Division Head, Finance Business Promotion Division
He first worked for Yusen Broad Networks Corporation (now USEN Corporation), then moved to Yahoo Japan Corporation in 2005. He joined PayPay in 2018 after serving as head of the Business Promotion Division and the Consumer Business controller of YAHUOKU!, as well as a controller at a commerce company. He is now in charge of negotiations with financial institutions for top up cost management, Myna-Point, JPQR, LINE Pay integration, liaison activities with relevant ministries and agencies, and intra-group collaboration with SBKK and ZHD.
What is the Finance Business Group?
Please tell us about your operational responsibilities
I assumed the office of Vice President of PayPay on January 1, 2022, and am currently responsible for overseeing the Finance Business Group.
The Finance Business Group consists of the Finance Business Strategy Division and the Finance Business Promotion Division, and was established in January 2022 with a few dozen members. The group achieved continuous growth in a short period of time. Before long, after laying the groundwork for the organization, we went on to enter a phase of business and service expansion.
I am responsible for the Finance Business Strategy Division, which is responsible for the strategic planning of PayPay’s finance business, as well planning and launching finance projects. I believe that our division will play a leading role in defining both the financial services we deliver to users and the formulation of new business pursuits through the “fin” and “tech” created here at PayPay.
I manage PayPay’s Finance Business Promotion Division.
With PayPay Card having become our consolidated subsidiary as of October 2022, our division aims to boost synergy between card and code payments. We handle operations from strategic planning to the development of new services and the growth of Pay Later.
We also deal with relationships with financial institutions, as they are critical for the services PayPay provides.
Our role is to collaborate with partners inside and outside the group to promote the financial businesses and features created by PayPay, and get users to use them, in order to maximize PayPay’s revenue.
Why does PayPay do financial business?
PayPay is equipped for the challenge
I believe that Japan is ripe with opportunity to make financial services more accessible and convenient through the power of technology.
The power of PayPay’s creativity and development capabilities combined with strong group assets – the banking, security, and card assets of SoftBank Group along with media and services from Yahoo Japan Corporation and LINE – equip us to compete in the financial sphere.
I believe PayPay’s origins as a smartphone app enable us to develop financial services unparalleled in approachability and ease of use.
PayPay originally started out as a payment service for spending money.
In order to deliver ease and convenience to our users, it was clear we needed to enable them to not only spend, but also save, increase, borrow, put aside, and manage their money through our features.
In a way, PayPay is also a disruptor, which is great.
That is to say, we are a fintech company using technology to pioneer financial services and evolve them with our own hands.
While maintaining our role as a disruptor, we can also improve the customer experience through user-first production and bring to the world financial services that have not been realized by any company before.
Where is PayPay headed?
From making products, to creating experiences
I want PayPay to achieve a reality in which all people can enrich their lives through experiencing all sorts of financial services.
I, too, want to see a world in which PayPay is used instinctively in various situations in life. As our business grows, so does the number of tasks we have on our plate, but we feel that we can also take on dynamic challenges through realizing all kinds of financial service features.
In other words, we are both making products and creating experiences.
Exactly. We are not considering these undertakings in the future tense; we believe they lie just before our eyes.
I want to live in a world where financial services are easily accessible by smartphone, and for PayPay to be the gateway to them.
Because PayPay has released financial services that capture the zeitgeist, and in order for PayPay to become a “super app” packed with functionality in the future, we want to join hands with like-minded colleagues to realize our vision.
It is possible with the speed and colleagues we have here at PayPay. That is what I believe.
What is unique about the culture of the Finance Business Group?
Our starting point is always “user first”
Our division has two unique points: our user-first mindset and our speed.
When creating services in the financial domain, legal compliance is unnegotiable. It is both difficult and interesting to create products and businesses without losing speed in such an environment.
In this context, our starting point is always “user first.”
This is the only point we can never let waver no matter the circumstance.
Also, once users leave, they don’t come back.
We are in a constant process of thinking about what the users are looking for, updating our product every one or two weeks. I believe moving with this kind of speed will create greater value.
Even for service modifications, members of PayPay reach swift consensus and sometimes make improvements on the same day or the next day.
These two points of user-first thinking and speed comprise the culture, so to speak, of the Finance Business Group.
It is especially easy to feel the presence of speed in all kinds of daily work situations. As long as you can perform with speed, your work will always lead to something.
It’s even best to fail with speed, too! (laughs)
We try things right away, even if they fail! That’s the attitude here. (laughs)
PayPay is a company where people of various nationalities, cultures, and backgrounds are involved. The team strength that arises when members of diverse backgrounds come together is also extremely powerful. New businesses cannot succeed unless they are driven by strong ambitions shared with colleagues, so I hope we can all join together on this journey to realize our vision.
What kind of company do you want PayPay to become?
We want to define “fintech” and make history
With PayPay surpassing several thousand employees, we are becoming a large company, but I do not want to lose the culture we have maintained since our founding.
A startup mindset that values teamwork and our culture of mutual respect, where everyone is an equal. I hope we can preserve these characteristics as we continue to grow as an organization and create the future of finance with our colleagues.
Finance is irreplaceable to the economy.
I would like to make PayPay a company that delivers services that no other company has achieved to date.
I completely agree. I envision a PayPay able to handle any and all money-related matters.
From there, I want to create a world that is convenient, where everyone benefits equally from financial services.
This requires a perspective that intersects services to create synergy, then transform it into a service that is even easier to use. We will create services that all users, not just a few, will find easy to use, leading to a world where as long as you have PayPay, you can handle all of your financial affairs.
Japan is said to be lagging in terms of financial literacy, but I want PayPay to be the reason people rethink this perception.
The financial business has been around for a long time, making it difficult to affect change. Users are often used to inconvenience. I would like to create an environment where we continue to challenge ourselves to create and deliver user-first products and experiences to our users.
There are still so many things we want to create at PayPay.
We want to make and deliver what we ourselves like.
PayPay’s strength is that it can create both products and experiences.
It is precisely because fintech is not clearly defined that we continue to create that definition, and history, together.
Fintech is currently in its startup phase. Its definition may be set in just a few short years. This environment is exactly why if even a small part of your heart wants to jump in, I urge you to take the leap.
This current phase of PayPay is brimming with excitement.
Current job openings
*The recruitment status is current at the time of the interview.
Special thanks：Masamichi Yasuda, Masayoshi Yanase, Hiroki Kawata / Editor：Kaoru（PayPay Inside-Out Editorial Team）/ Photograph：Hinako & Mina
*Employees’ affiliations are as of the time of the interview.