Japan’s LINE acquires Thai e-commerce platform Sellsuki and partners with KBank

LINE said the acquisition will establish a “strong foundation” for its e-commerce business in Thailand.

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Japan’s LINE acquires Thai e-commerce platform Sellsuki and partners with KBank

Line Corporation, the Japanese developer of messaging app LINE, has announced its acquisition of Sellsuki, a Thai e-commerce platform for handling payments, sales, inventory, chat system, and after-sale service, for an undisclosed amount.

The acquisition was followed by the announcement of a partnership between LINE, via its Line Financial Asia, and Thailand’s KBank for the establishment of KASIKORN LINE Company Limited, a joint venture that aims to provide Thailand’s 44 million Line users with “more convenient” financial services.

In a statement, LINE said the Sellsuki acquisition was effective December 6 and all of the Thai e-commerce firm’s staff members have joined Line Thailand’s team. Sellsuki co-founder and CEO has also been appointed head of e-commerce at LINE Thailand.

Additionally, Sellsuki’s social commerce solutions have been completely transferred to LINE while the original company continues to operate its other business services under new management.

“This acquisition will establish a strong foundation for our e-commerce business in Thailand. After years of collaboration with Sellsuki, we’ve realised the company’s potential, which eventually resulted in this acquisition deal,” said LINE Thailand managing director Ariya Banomyong.

LINE’s acquisition of Sellsuki took place at a time when social commerce has become a major driver of e-commerce growth in Thailand. A PwC study quoted by LINE showed that social commerce takes up 51% of the total US$3.1 billion e-commerce market in the country while the number of social commerce consumers is three times higher than the global average.

Ariya expressed confidence that the acquisition will lead to “a new dimension of e-commerce services from LINE” under the leadership of Supadhiloke. LINE and Sellsuki have been collaborating for more than three years on [email protected], LINE’s social commerce service.

Following the acquisition, LINE also announced the establishment of KASIKORN LINE Company Limited, a joint venture with Thailand’s KBank that aims to provide the country’s 44 million LINE users with financial services that will be launched in the second half of 2019.

The partnership marks the first attempt of the Thai commercial banking sector to operate at a regional scale, according to KASIKORNBANK president Patchara Samalapa.

“This deal represents a strategic move to meet the fast-growing demands of today’s vibrant, digitally savvy, social customers. I believe LINE’s advanced digital technology and KBank’s retail banking experience will prove to be the future of banking, demonstrating a new financial model that begins in Thailand,” Samalapa said.

The joint venture seeks to capture Thailand’s unbanked, especially the millennial segment, which Patchara describes as the smartphone generation.

“Today’s announcement establishing KASIKORN LINE aims to revolutionise the financial experience in Thailand. We will work together to create a unique social banking experience – more user-friendly, accessible, and lifestyle-driven,” said LINE Financial Asia chief operating officer Young Eun Kim.

LINE’s Global Communications Team told KrAsia that LINE is committed to helping create economic growth opportunities for startups in Thailand and support the Thai startup ecosystem.

“We aim to invest more in Thai startups and open for various deals; funding, partnership, even acquisition.Thailand is producing a new generation of startups that have incredible potential,” the team said.

Early this month, LINE Plus Corporation announced that it has acquired GrayHash, a South Korean online security research center specialising in offensive research and counter-hacking techniques, for an undisclosed amount.

With the acquisition, the Korea-based GrayHash has been renamed GrayLab and tasked with developing and optimizing security solutions for LINE’s services, including messenger, fintech, AI, blockchain and the digital asset exchange.

Editor: Ben Jiang