South Korean internet giant Naver Corp. is launching internet-only bank in Taiwan where entry to the banking sector is relatively easier.
Line Financial Taiwan Corp., a Taiwanese subsidiary of Japan-based messaging app operator LINE under the Naver family, will submit request for approval to Taipei authorities by Feb. 15 on its plan to operate a web-only bank in the country in the form of consortium with local banks.
Line Financial Taiwan will hold a majority 49.9 percent stake in the consortium and the remaining 40.1 percent stake held by four local financial institutions. Taipei Fubon Bank is the second-biggest shareholder with a 25.1 percent stake, while CTBC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan and Union Bank of Taiwan each hold 5 percent, Line Financial said on Wednesday.
Line picked Taiwan as its first destination for web-only banking business as the country applies a less strict rule to the ownership of financial entities by industrial capital than Korea, while the number of the Line messaging app in Taiwan reaches more than 20 million, raising its potential as a platform for a web-only bank.
The combination will build on Line’s technical mobile marketing experience, financial products and risk management of Line Financial Taiwan and business expertise from partners, Line said.
Line is speeding up efforts to increase market penetration across Asia. Line Financial launched early this year is responsible for cryptocurrency trade, securities and insurance business in Japan. Last month, its subsidiary Line Financial Asia signed a contract to acquire a 20 percent stake in lender Bank KEB Hana Indonesia.
Its messaging rival Kakao Bank leads an online bank in Korea.
By Lee Dong-in and Minu Kim
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