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Japanese app developer LINE eyes digital bank in Taiwan

Japan-based LINE Corp. plans to enter the banking business in Taiwan by establishing a digital-only bank with local lenders, the Taipei Times reported July 27, citing LINE regional chief Liu I-cheng.

The messaging app developer, which already operates e-payment app Line Pay in Taiwan, wants to establish Line Bank through Line Financial Taiwan Corp. Line Financial Taiwan will hold no more than a 50% stake in Line Bank and will keep the number of partners to five to comply with local regulations.

LINE's board had also agreed to sell a 19.9% stake in LINE Biz+ Taiwan Ltd., the operator of LINE Pay, to Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank Co. Ltd. and a 10% stake to Union Bank of Taiwan Ltd. for approximately ¥17.5 billion, it said in a July 25 release.

The proposed share sale is subject to regulatory approval.

Line Bank will take deposits, offer loans and sell mutual funds and insurance policies, but will not issue credit cards, launch new financial products or set up its own securities units, Liu added.

As of July 26, US$1 was equivalent to ¥111.08.