Z Holdings outlines $4.7bn digital society investment for Japan

Z Holdings outlines $4.7bn digital society investment for Japan


SoftBank’s internet subsidiary Z Holdings (ZHD) has outlined plans to invest US$4.7 billion in technology over the coming five years as it looks to "resist an onslaught from larger overseas rivals".

Announcing the investment plans today, local time, the news broke as part of the completion of the Yahoo Japan and Line integration, a transaction that created a $30 billion domestic internet company.

Line and Yahoo Japan – together with their respective parent companies, SoftBank Corp. and NAVER Corporation – have carried out a series of transactions to integrate their businesses and now they have revealed plans to support the development of Japan's digital society.

They said various discussions have also been held on the businesses operated by the two companies so that synergies will be "swiftly generated after the integration".

Z Holdings said it could achieve operating incoming of 225 billion Japanese yen by 2024.

Information, payment, communication

With 23,000 employees, ZHD has become one of Japan’s largest internet corporates with more than 300 million users, 15 million corporate clients, and 3,000 collaborations with municipalities. It currently provides more than 200 services in Japan.

The integration with Yahoo Japan and chap app operator Line, will allow ZHC to focus on information, payment and communications, "three sources of actions that are indispensable to our daily lives".

ZHD Group said it will solve "various social issues of each individual living in each of the countries and regions, to provide convenience and to contribute to a flourishing society".

As such it has designated search, advertising and messenger operations as its core areas of business promotion, with local/vertical, fintech and social services, named as "four focus areas where there are large social issues that are expected to be solved with the internet".

ZHD said it will "apply data and AI technologies to each of these areas to activate powerful synergies to add convenience and vitality to the daily lives of our users, business activities, and all of society".

All businesses will be developed with a focus on AI, with 500 billon yen to be invested and 5,000 engineers employed, within and beyond Japan over the next five years.

Further, by building on Line's overseas operations in Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia, ZHD said it will embark on a global expansion, "introducing the best practices from Japan, as well as applying best practices from overseas to the Japanese market".

Its press announcement went on to confirm: "We will also make full use of the know-how and network of SoftBank and NAVER in the efforts of our global expansion."

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