The company behind All Nippon Airways (ANA) – one of the largest airlines in Japan – is set to enter the mobile payments market in a bid to replicate the soaring success of China’s Alipay.

In an interview with Financial Times ANA CEO Shinya Katanozaka said the company aimed to produce their “version of Alipay”, as part of a wider strategy to move into new sectors away from aviation.

The company said the move was a natural extension as it already provided financial services through an air miles linked credit card. By 2022 ANA aims to make 20 per cent of its revenue from non-aviation related sectors and is eyeing a number of other markets in addition to mobile payments.

While many markets in Asia are enjoying strong growth in mobile payments, Japan is still a cash-heavy society with much lower levels of electronic and mobile payment penetration than China and several other developed markets.

However, a number of big players are making strong moves in the market to compete with telecoms companies and financial service providers already operating in the sector.

In August 2017, Alipay parent Ant Financial said it planned to launch in Japan with an initial goal of attracting 10 million customers onto the platform. Earlier this year, Nikkei Asian Review reported three of the country’s largest banks were set to collaborate on a QR-code point of sale payment app.

Other players making moves include a consortium of 61 Japanese banks under the JBC moniker working with payment processor Ripple on person-to-person payments, while handset-specific services including Apple Pay and Android Pay target point of sale payments. Popular social network Line also provides payment services under its Line Pay brand.