Japan’s Line expands Thai operations with e-grocery venture

The chat app operator will compete with Grab and Go-Jek in on-demand services.

Photo: Shutterstock

This article first appeared on Nikkei Asian Review. It’s republished here as part of 36Kr’s ongoing partnership with Nikkei. 36Kr is KrASIA’s parent company.

BANGKOK — Japanese chat app operator Line will launch an online grocery service in Thailand by the end of the year, the latest move to expand its on-demand services in the Southeast Asian country.

Line is seeking to develop itself as a go-to platform to fulfill daily necessities just as ride-hailing leaders Grab and Go-Jek have been expanding into other on-demand services as well.

Called Line Man Grocery, the app will allow customers who shop online to have food and other items delivered, Phichet Rerkpreecha, the CEO of Line Thailand, said Thursday. The local arm is also rolling out Line Shopping, a platform that pairs buyers and sellers via chat and verifies account deposits.

The new additions come on top of an existing app that delivers goods from convenience stores and other vendors. Line plans to compete against supermarkets and other brick-and-mortar establishments.

Line says it has 44 million users in Thailand, equal to roughly 60% of the population. Earlier this summer, the tech company unveiled its “Life on Line” business strategy that converges online and offline services.

In Thailand, Line has introduced a taxi hailing and meal delivery service in Bangkok and three surrounding provinces. By next year, those businesses will expand into other major cities such as Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai.