eBay to acquire Zong; bolsters global mobile payments strategy

EBay will acquire mobile payments provider Zong for $240 million in cash in an attempt to shore up its ability to process payments for digital goods.

EBay announced on Thursday that it will acquire mobile payments provider Zong for $240 million in cash in an attempt to shore up its ability to process payments for digital goods.

Menlo Park, Calif.-based Zong, which specializes in processing payments through mobile carrier billing, counts more than 250 mobile network operators around the world -- 21 languages, 45 countries -- as partners.

Its service specifically allows consumers to pay for purchases via a mobile phone or computer through direct carrier billing: enter a mobile phone number, send a payment, with verification and account synchronization en route.

EBay of course owns PayPal, already a top global payment platform in its own right with a portfolio of more than 100 million accounts.

Combining the two reinforces the company's lead in the sector as others -- including Visa and Mastercard -- vie for parts of the rapidly growing business.

The ultimate goal: make sure there's a solution anywhere a customer feels the impulse to pay for something.

As smartphones and other digital technologies open up these opportunities -- there are more than 4 billion mobile phone owners worldwide -- it's an industry race to plug the gaps.

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