The unexpected popularity of bitcoin as a payment option has prompted leading Japanese electronic retail chain Bic Camera to accept the digital currency at all locations across Japan.
Bitcoin More Popular Than Expected
On Monday, Nikkei reported that Japanese electronics giant Bic Camera will start accepting bitcoin at all of its locations across Japan. The publication detailed:
The more than expected popularity of this option prompted Bic Camera to expand the system to the rest of its locations.
Bic Camera first started accepting bitcoin in April, following the government’s recognition of the digital currency. By partnering with Bitflyer, Japan’s top bitcoin exchange by volume, two Bic Camera stores started allowing bitcoin payments. The company’s executives said at the time that these stores would serve as a testbed for bitcoin. If successful, the chain may roll out a bitcoin payment option to all of its stores across Japan.
Last month, the company opened a new store which is located in Akihabara, the world’s leading technology district. It became the third Bic Camera store to accept bitcoin. According to The Hokkaido Shimbun on Monday, Bic Camera “judged that there is demand not only for foreign visitors to Japan but also for Japanese customers.”
While Nikkei did not specify a date, local publications indicate that the group will start rolling out the bitcoin payment option on July 14.
Bic Camera Family of Stores
The Bic Camera group of stores consists of three brands; Bic Camera, Sofmap and Kojima. The latter two are subsidiaries of Bic Camera. As of August 2016, the group operates 39 Bic Camera stores, 31 Sofmap stores, and 139 Kojima stores, with more stores planned across Japan.
Sofmap sells both new and used electronics. The company became a subsidiary of Bic Camera in 2006. Electronics retailer Kojima, which focuses on stores in Suburban areas, was acquired by Bic Camera in 2012. At the time, Bic Camera ranked fifth in the industry while Kojima ranked sixth, reported The Japan Times. The acquisition created the second largest retail electronics chain in Japan.
While Sofmap was not mentioned in Monday’s announcement, Bic Camera specifically said that some of Kojima stores will accept bitcoin. According to Nikkei:
Since bitcoin is used by many Japanese consumers, not just foreign visitors, Bic Camera will also start taking the virtual currency at some outposts of its subsidiary Kojima, which are typically found in the suburbs.
Bic Camera is the latest major Japanese retail chain to integrate bitcoin payments. Last week, Recruit Lifestyle which partnered with bitcoin exchange Coincheck began rolling out a bitcoin payment option to 260,000+ stores that use its point-of-sale app, Air Regi. Meanwhile, another Japanese bitcoin exchange Bitpoint is working independently to introduce bitcoin payments to over 100,000 retailers through partnerships with large corporations such as Peach Aviation and Evolable Asia.
What do you think about Bic Camera and Kojima accepting bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Bic Camera
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