Naver, Softbank launch Japanese joint venture to take on internet giants

March 1, 2021

 South Korea’s leading internet portal Naver Corp. and Japanese telecom giant Softbank Corp. have completed a merger of their subsidiaries to tap deeper into the Japanese market with a wide range of services, their joint venture said Monday.

Japanese chat app operator LINE, affiliated with Naver, and Softbank’s internet business Yahoo Japan launched a new entity called Z Holdings.

The merger creates a $30 billion tech giant with more than 100 million users on a monthly basis across messaging, online advertising and financial services.

Z Holdings said it will invest $4.7 billion in technologies, including artificial intelligence, e-commerce, fintech and advertising, over the next five years.

Naver founder Lee Hae-jin (L) and Softbank founder Masayoshi Son (R) are seen in this file photo. (Yonhap)

Naver founder Lee Hae-jin (L) and Softbank founder Masayoshi Son (R) are seen in this file photo. (Yonhap)

LINE and Yahoo Japan announced their merger plan in November 2019 to combine Japan’s most popular messaging app and its largest internet search portal to take on U.S. and Chinese internet giants.

Z Holdings will be controlled by a holdings company, called A Holdings, a 50-50 joint venture between Naver and Softbank.

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