Messaging firm Line to offer pay, taxi, food delivery services


Staff Writer

Smartphone messaging service Line Corp. said Thursday it will launch a payment service in coming months as it seeks to play a more fundamental role in customers’ lives.

“The key word for our goal from now on is ‘Life,’ ” Chief Operating Officer Takeshi Idezawa said at a press conference in Chiba.

Line Pay will use a prepayment system to let people buy products and services online and in brick and mortar stores.

They will top it up with funds drawn from their bank account or credit cards.

Idezawa said the service offers a new, convenient way for people to send money to each other, because they can transfer money to other Line Pay users without the need for bank accounts.

The service will launch this winter in Japan and other countries.

Line said Thursday it now has 560 million registered users worldwide. The Tokyo-based company is a subsidiary of South Korean IT giant Naver Corp.

Although known for its free messaging app, Line also offers smartphone games — a major source of revenue.

The company said it has plans for further lifestyle-related services, including takeout delivery, in which food can be ordered from Line accounts.

The Line Taxi service will allow users to hail cabs, in a partnership between Line and leading taxi operator Nihon Kotsu Co.

Another upcoming product is a help-guide-me indoor mapping service.

Line said it will provide maps of facilities such as large shopping centers so people can find where they need to go. Participating chains will initially include store chains Atre, Lumine and Tokyu Hands.

Line also said it will soon start a music distribution service, Line Music Inc., in partnership with Sony Music Entertainment and Avex Group.