Line to Enter Banking Biz in Tie-Up with Mizuho

Economy

Tokyo, Nov. 27 (Jiji Press)--Japanese free messaging app provider Line Corp. <3938> said Tuesday that it will embark on banking business, possibly in 2020, in a tie-up with Mizuho Financial Group Inc. <8411>, one of the country's top three banking groups.

Through the move, Line hopes to strengthen its operations in the field of fintech, or financial services utilizing advanced information technologies, and offer new banking services in anticipation of the spread of cashless shopping. The new bank, which will not have brick-and-mortar branches, is expected to focus mainly on smartphone-based services linked to the Line messaging app.

The two sides plan to set up a preparatory company in spring 2019. The joint firm will be owned 51 pct by Line Financial Corp., a Line unit, and 49 pct by Mizuho Bank, a subsidiary of Mizuho Financial.

With some 78 million users in Japan, Line is mainly offering cashless payments services via smartphones. By teaming up with the Mizuho group, Line aims to meet diversifying financial service needs.

"There still is room for improvement" in the banking industry, Line President Takeshi Idezawa said at a press conference on Tuesday, underlining the firm's intention to provide highly convenience banking services fully utilizing IT.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press