Popular Asian Messaging App Line Expands into Cashless Payments and FinTech

Line, one of the most popular messaging apps in Japan and other Asian countries, is going to expand its business into e-payments and other fintech services.

Photo: LINE

Photo: LINE

As it has been revealed, Line, a well-known messaging app in Asia, is also planning to go in for e-payments and other fintech services. Such a move is explained by the company’s desire to avoid any stagnation or complacency that are quite typical for social media giants today.

Speaking to media, Jungho Shin, the founder of Line, noted:

“My biggest priority is to ensure that the company is in a constant position to deliver innovation. As many cases in the US and Europe show, the fear is that we will become big and sluggish.”

According to the recent news, Shin will now take a new position in the company as he has been appointed a co-CEO. Now, together with Takeshi Idezawa, Line’s CEO, he will work on the company’s new strategy the main goal of which is to find the best approaches to use the capacities of fintech, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology.

At the current moment, Line can boast approximately 164 million active users per month in its main markets including Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia.

Last year, the company disclosed its plans to allocate funds for making investments in financial services and artificial intelligence. It has also managed to enter in partnerships with Mizuho Financial Group and Nomura.

Line’s app is particularly popular in Japan. But consumers there use the app not only for communication but for playing games, making payments, searching for jobs and purchasing insurance as well. Nevertheless, the company still has a lot to do to achieve the popularity of its major rivals as WeChat or WhatsApp , for example.

Line Pay, the mobile payment service, is expected to help increase the volumes of cashless payment in the country as it is required by Japan’s plan to double these figures.

Company’s Plans

According to the company’s forecasts, its fintech business will become profitable in three years. “There are challenges to expanding into new areas like fintech and payment. But if users want this and it is an area where we can contribute to improving their lives, we need to take on the challenge even if there are some risks,” explained Shin.

Moreover, Line has plans to enter new markets outside Asia and to become a global company. Nevertheless, Shin highlighted that their main fear is that Line won’t be able to provide a stable and innovative environment for the top talents. That’s why he views his role in developing a corporate culture that will be able to stay strong even in highly changeable circumstances.

The new co-CEO also expressed his opinion on Facebook’s role in the market competition.

“Considering Facebook’s scale and the number of users, there’s no mistake that they are a formidable competitive threat. But we have spent years trying to understand the needs of our user base and I am convinced we can offer services that are even more satisfying to our users,” added Shin.

Social Media Giants Heading to Crypto

As we have already noted, nowadays social media giants are actively entering the fintech world. Following Facebook, who also plans for its own crypto to use it for in-app payments across its suite of applications, the major Russian social media player VKontakte is considering a possibility to launch its own crypto and to introduce a tipping service that will offer users a possibility to donate tokens to those whose posts they like.

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