Messaging app company Line is looking to shore up its strength in payments by grabbing Japanese start-up WebPay in an undisclosed acquisition deal.
Line Pay first became available to the 500 million registered Line users in December. In its first iteration, Line Pay can only be used to purchase digital goods from Line itself – stickers (or taxis in Tokyo) — but the company has plans to extend that to cover other online sites and services.
That broader expansion into e-commerce is the driver behind the WebPay acquisition. The Tokyo-based start-up offers a Stripe-like service which allows consumers t0 make purchases on e-commerce sites, mobile apps and other web-based services.
Line didn’t say how it plans to use WebPay beyond that it will “further solidify the pace of growth of the Line Pay business.”
Line is owned by Korean internet giant Naver, but actually operates out of Japan. The company currently operates an Uber-like taxi service in Tokyo and a grocery delivery service in Southeast Asia that is still in its early development phases. On the agenda next are plans for a global music streaming service.
With the aggressive expansion into e-commerce and the sharing and streaming economies, Line is looking to better develop its suite of services. Line is currently largely dependent on revenue from its wildly popular mobile gaming service, but it is clearly looking to branch out. Earlier this week, the company unveiled a $42 million fund for Japan that is aimed at growing that network of services via third parties.