How LINE Corporation is entering financial services

Efma feature

01 October 2019

Tokyo-based instant messaging giant LINE Corporation has announced its plan to partner with Mizuho Financial Group in an online banking venture. This follows the recent launch of several new LINE apps offering financial services and product.

LINE Corporation’s messaging app has truly taken Japan by storm, a country which now boasts 78 million monthly active users. But what made the company pop up on Efma’s radar was in fact its bold strategy for breaking into the financial services market.

In the last few years, LINE has grown into a sprawling ecosystem comprised of multiple insurance and banking offerings, all the while delivering the unrivaled customer experience on which LINE has built its reputation. This great feat inspired Efma to dedicate a new special edition report, available from 1st Setpember 2019 to the company’s strategy in financial services.

LINE’s announcement in November 2018 that it was preparing its entry into online banking together with Mizuho Financial Group is the company’s most daring move to date. The joint online banking venture is expected to be ready by 2020, and aims to combine Mizuho’s financial expertise with LINE’s user-friendly experience and interface tailored to the digital native generation. Through its subsidiary LINE Financial Corporation, LINE will supply 51% of the 2 billion yen ($17.6 million) in capital. Mizuho Financial Group’s subsidiary, Mizuho Bank, will provide the remainder.

The two Japanese companies together pose a potentially significant threat to megabanks currently dominating the market. This new service will enable users to make deposits and take out loans through their smartphones. Operating costs will be minimized through an exclusively online presence. And, naturally, the ‘smartphone bank’ will be connected to the LINE app, in order to ensure a fluid and user-friendly experience across the LINE platform.

This recent development into online banking emerges in response to the need for further innovation as LINE’s instant messaging app reaches market saturation. The company’s decision to expand into full-scale financial services using the LINE platform will contribute to its corporate mission of “closing the distance” – bringing people, information and services closer together on a daily basis.

Efma’s new publication on LINE takes a look at the company’s other apps that are bridging the gap between the smartphone generation and financial services of a diverse nature. For example: LINE Kakeibo, the free personal financial account and asset management service; LINE Insurance; LINE Smart Invest; Bitbox cryptocurrency; and LINE Pay.

Several of these new ventures are underpinned by successful partnerships, both on a domestic and international scale. In the upcoming Special Edition, we zoom in on the main collaborations behind the growth of LINE Pay, across several industries including transport, tourism, utilities, retail and hospitality.

We also hear from industry experts in Efma’s Editorial Committee who have their say on LINE’s strategy and its potential threat to the financial services industry in our ‘open mic’ section.

To discover more about LINE’s financial services strategy and the full range of LINE financial apps, download the Efma Special Edition

Keywords : Digital payments/Wallet , Bank Products & Services , Business strategy/Model , GAFA/New competitors , Insurance Products & Services

Geography : Japan , Asia