Line acquires WebPay to boost mobile payment services

11 Feb

The launch of mobile payment services has become the most important step into the market for payment apps. In December 2014, Japan’s messaging firm Line introduced LinePay, which provides services in Line’s online stores. In order to strengthen mobile payment services, Line acquired Japanese start-up Webpay to expand mobile payments into other web-based stores.

Line announced the acquisition on Feb. 10 but did not disclose the terms of the deal. WebPay’s management team and technical team for payment services will be merged with LinePay.

Founded in 2013, WebPay raised US$930,000 in its last round of fundraising. In a rapidly changing field like mobile payments, user count and capital are the most important factors in boosting market visibility. Being acquired by Line might actually be beneficial to the start-up.

Japan’s mobile payment market now sees fierce competition, with Spike, Base and aggressively seeking potential acquisitions for a rapid growth. Line currently has 170 million users, which is a strong edge over its competitors. After purchasing WebPay, LinePay is expected to support more retailers to expand mobile payment services to other web-based businesses.

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