Ripple’s Deal With Japanese Multinational Opens Door for Rapid Asian Expansion


Konnichiwa! Photo: Shutterstock/Perati Komson

Ripple announced its deal with SBI Holdings late Thursday night—which, frankly, has all of us here very, very excited.

We’ve been getting a tremendous amount of interest in Ripple from Asia.

But being that Ripple is based predominantly in San Francisco—although we have official presences in New York and London as well as a rapidly expanding office in Sydney—it’s been a challenge meeting that demand.

This latest deal with SBI Holdings will go a long way toward alleviating some of that pent up pressure.

SBI is a big deal in Japan. The $28 billion financial services conglomerate has over 5,000 employees with offices in 20 countries.

But what’s key is SBI’s regional influence.

As part of the deal, we’ll see the formation of SBI Ripple Asia, a new joint venture that will service not only Japan but also China, Taiwan, South Korea and ASEAN countries. (Ripple APAC, based in Sydney, will continue to service Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, India and the Middle East.)

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As we’ve reported in the past, the ASEAN region could best Europe’s economic output in as little as a decade.

In ASEAN alone, SBI holds stakes in 10 financial institutions. The idea is that we’ll be able to hit the ground running with a turnkey distribution network for Ripple Connect, Ripple’s enterprise-grade settlement solution.

You can check out a snapshot of SBI Group’s portfolio companies here.

SBI Ripple Asia will build out its own engineering team and sales force to meet integration requirements and Ripple’s growing regional demand.

Also of note, SBI has a proven track record with this sort of thing, having in the past worked with E-LOAN, E*TRADE, Morningstar and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank to enable similar kinds of international expansions.

For Ripple, the opportunity is enormous as Asia becomes an increasingly major player on the world stage.

About the deal, SBI President and CEO Yoshitaka Kitao had this to say:

“Surveying the market, Ripple was the only company that has delivered battle-tested enterprise solutions and global bank customer traction, including commercial deals with top banks already signed in Asia Pacific. Distributed financial technology is undoubtedly transforming financial infrastructure and we’re excited to drive its adoption throughout Asia.”

But my favorite tidbit about this whole thing is a tiny detail way at the end—the kicker, if you will.

As part of the agreement, Ripple and SBI are exploring ways to list XRP through SBI’s various online brokerage properties.

Among those properties is Japan’s leading online securities trading platform—which recently reached a milestone of 3.5 million accounts.

So like I said—very, very exciting times.