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Japan’s Line to launch telemedicine app on rising pandemic demand

Popular 80-million user social media platform to also offer payment service.

Photo:Shutterstock.com

Japanese social media platform Line will this summer launch a telemedicine business to cater to growing demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The popular chat application has over 80 million users in Japan and with its new telemedicine-focused app patients will be able to consult doctors via video chat. Expecting more than 2,000 doctors to use it, Line is also looking to establish an accompanying payment system.

Demand for telemedicine services has been rapidly increasing in line with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and the Japanese government is working to ease relevant regulations. Line, with its broad customer base, can play an important role in spreading such service across the country.

The new app will be operated by Line Healthcare, in which Line has a 50% stake. Line sees the app as offering seamless service covering medical treatment, drug prescriptions, and payment.

On top of its core chat app service, Line also operates a payment service business and will link that with the telemedicine app. Although many hospitals and pharmacies have not yet adopted e-payments, Line will urge them to introduce such services.

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.