Line Merger with Yahoo Japan Aims at Artificial Intelligence

Akihabara News (Tokyo) — The merger of online firms Line and Yahoo Japan is aimed squarely at the Artificial Intelligence (AI) industry, hoping to give the combined holding company, Line and Z Holdings, the financial heft it needs to compete against the tech giants.

The merger statement explained, “Social and industrial conditions surrounding us are changing drastically and daily on a global basis. Particularly in the Internet market, overseas companies, especially those based in the United States and China, are overwhelmingly dominant, and even when comparing the size of operations, there is currently a big difference between such overseas companies and those in Japan and other Asian countries, other than China.”

It continued, “Furthermore, in Japan, which is working to increase the declining productivity that comes along with a shrinking workforce and to respond rapidly to natural disasters, the use of artificial intelligence and technology in these fields has great potential.”

The combined firm will target “growth in the areas of AI, commerce, Fintech, advertising and O2O and other new business areas.”

Currently, Line Corporation, owned by the South Korean firm Naver, has a user base of about 82 million people in Japan, and Yahoo Japan, owned by SoftBank Corporation through its subsidiary Z Holdings Corporation, has a user base of about 50 million Japanese.

The full merger is expected to be completed within a year.

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