FPT, Japanese fund to invest $3 mln in blockchain startup

By Minh Son   April 23, 2019 | 06:40 pm GMT+7
FPT, Japanese fund to invest $3 mln in blockchain startup
FPT Corp. and SBI Holdings have agreed to invest $3 billion into Utop. Photo by Shutterstock

FPT Corp. and Japan’s SBI Holdings will invest $3 million in Utop, a retail point rewards program in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese tech and Japanese financial service giants signed a memorandum of understanding last week for the investment and incorporation of the startup as a joint venture.

Blockchain based platform Utop aims to link loyalty points programmes of retail merchants operating on FPT’s merchant network called akaChain, which spans several countries and various sectors including finance, insurance, retail and supply chain.

Utop aims to make it easier for users to collect and redeem loyalty points at retailers within the same network. Through Utop, small businesses would also be able to link their reward programs with each other to reduce costs and secure data through the akaChain platform.

This system also aims to ensure liquidity for end users by allowing them to redeem points at any merchants within the network.

Pham Nguyen Vu, co-founder and director of Utop, said that they had been piloting the Utop point rewards program since December 2018, promoting the use of points at various retail outlets.

"The funding from FPT and SBI would be a great kickstart to help Utop solidify its foundation and take bolder steps in the future," Vu said.

The joint venture will initially provide services for FPT Group and its clients and expand to other firms later.

SBI spokesman Akihide Kimura said that Utop should be incorporated in Vietnam by June.

SBI Holdings has either invested in or jointly operates through several FPT subsidiaries like FPT Securities and TPBank. It also holds a 20.8 percent stake in Sendo, an online marketplace of FPT that currently has 300,000 sellers serving around 10 million customers nationwide.

 
 
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