TAIPEI (CNA) — LINE Corp., the mobile messaging and communication services supplier, said on May 8 that it will invest an additional US$100 million in Taiwan after an earlier investment in the local Internet-only banking business.
In a news conference, Jungho Shin, LINE’s co-chief executive officer, said that as LINE moves toward its next stage of growth, Taiwan is one of the markets the company has targeted, hence the large extra investment.
Last year, LINE formed a joint web-only bank — LINE Bank — taking a roughly 50 percent stake in a joint venture with Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank, Taiwan Mobile Co., Far EasTone Telecommunications Co., Standard Chartered Bank, CTBC Bank and Union Bank of Taiwan. Local media reported at the time that LINE had invested more than NT$4.8 billion (US$155 million) in LINE Bank.
For the coming US$100 million investment, Shin said, LINE is looking into technology innovation development, in particular, artificial intelligence and financial technologies. Shin added that in terms of investment in technology innovation, LINE does not rule out the possibility of acquisitions in Taiwan.
In addition, Shin said that LINE is determined to provide better services to its clients through integrating online and offline resources to develop electronic commerce, while his company will continue to boost its presence in financial technology.
As of May 1, LINE Pay — LINE’s mobile payment system — had 6.04 million members in Taiwan, while the LINE Pay-iPass mobile payment platform boasted 1.45 million members. iPass is one of the major electronic payment cards in Taiwan.
Shin said the large membership of LINE Pay, which was launched in 2014, is encouraging and its presence has increased the pace of mobile payment development in Taiwan.
LINE Bank is also an important part of LINE’s agenda to expand its reach in financial technology in Taiwan. Earlier this year, LINE Bank said it looks forward to growing as Taiwan’s first financial “unicorn,” which is a term coined to describe a privately held startup company valued at over US$1 billion.
Other services LINE wants to develop in Taiwan are LINE Music and LINE TV, two major content services, Shih said.
He said LINE will continue to develop services exclusively for Taiwan, while the company will hire more local talent to help LINE grow and provide better services to the local market.
Taiwan is among the largest markets for LINE in terms of the number of subscribers. The others are Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Wu and Frances Huang