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02 March 2021
Line doubles down on 'super app' ambitions
Websites, online services, apps
The merger of Z Holdings, which operates Yahoo! Japan, with LINE Corp, the company behind popular messaging app LINE, has created one of the largest info-tech companies in the country, one with global ambitions.
Certainly, Takeshi Idezawa, co-CEO of Z Holdings, a SoftBank subsidiary, made the new entity’s strategy clear: the aim is to launch a global smartphone app and expand online services worldwide. SoftBank says it will invest $4.7bn over five years in the new project, as Nikkei Asia reported.
LINE is similar to messaging apps elsewhere, but differentiates itself with virtual stickers, animated emojis and games with popular characters. It also offers a number of other services, as well as allowing streaming and video calls.
The deal creates a tech giant with more than 300 million users and offers messaging, online advertising and financial services.
The key to success will be how well and how fast the merged entity streamlines overlapping services such as news and entertainment, and also incorporates SoftBank financial services.
The deal will give Z Holdings an opportunity to expand in three Asian markets where LINE is popular: Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia. The new entity will have more than 300 million users across messaging, news and financial services in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia.
Successful integration of the various services – including financial ones – analysts believe, could pose a challenge to domestic e-commerce giant Rakuten, as well as US tech giants such as Amazon, Facebook and Google.