Woowa Brothers and LINE Join Hands for Food Delivery Service in Japan

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Baedal Minjok’s Woowa Brothers Corp. announced on Oct. 10 that it would launch food delivery service “LINE WOW” jointly with Naver subsidiary LINE, Japan’s leading mobile messenger service. In August, Woowa Brothers signed a cooperative agreement with Naver and promised to collaborate in the areas of new business development and expansion.

“I hope Baedal Minjok’s successful expansion into Japan will prompt more Korean startups to expand their businesses into Japan. In partnership with LINE, Baedal Minjok aims to popularize the Korean food delivery app service around the world” said Bong-jin Kim, CEO of Woowa Brothers.

Delivery services will initially be limited to the Tokyo metropolitan area, delivering premium lunchboxes from popular restaurants only, but will eventually expand to have more options in vendors, menus, area and delivery times. Woowa Bros. and LINE hope to use the growing delivery infrastructure to expand into a variety of services and products in the future, aside from food.

Both companies are expecting substantial synergies from combining the forces of a successful mobile messenger app with a leading food-delivery platform. The establishment of LINE WOW represents Woowa Bros.’s first foreign market entry enterprise. Woowa Bros. chose Japan as the first stage, because it will give Woowa Bros. an opportunity to examine the numerous possibilities surrounding the food delivery markets abroad with a global platform LINE.

On LINE’s side, the strategic partnership with Woowa Bros. coincides with its future plans to expand its platform by offering a variety of new contents and services under the theme of “Life.” With the theme of “Life,” LINE seeks to become more integral to daily life by surpassing the boundaries between online and offline. Baedal Minjok exemplifies a very successful O2O (Offline to Online) business model that has integrated local offline stores with mobile app. With Baedal Minjok’s great capability in food delivery service, LINE seeks to expand its O2O business to an extensive smartphone user base both in Japan and abroad.

For the past few years, Woowa Brothers has shown remarkable growth in South Korea. It currently enjoys feats of having more than 60 percent of the food delivery app market share, and 13 million plus downloads in the combination of multiple stores including Google Play and App Store. Currently, South Korea’s food delivery app market is valued at an estimated $1 billion. LINE, launched 2011 in Japan, became Japan’s largest social network in 2013. In October 2014, it boasted more than 560 million users worldwide, of which 170 million are active user accounts.

Boosik is a writer with Tech for Korea where he writes about interesting tech trends and innovations. His main interests lie in the intersection of technology, entrepreneurship and public policy. Boosik is a currently a senior at Columbia University, studying Economics-Political Science. Boosik can be reached at boosikc@techforkorea.com.

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