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Business deals

Yahoo Japan and Line aim for Southeast Asia dominance

Alliance to learn from Thai experience amid fierce global competition

Yahoo Japan and Line have decided to merge to compete with big global tech groups including Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple (© Illustration by Michael Tsang).

TOKYO/SEOUL/BANGKOK -- SoftBank-backed Yahoo Japan and messaging app Line have agreed to merge amid a sense of crisis that the Japanese companies could not individually compete in the global internet sector and could even lose their home markets unless they develop a worldwide presence.

The situation has become particularly critical at a time when global tech players such as Google are rapidly expanding their operations and hoovering up valuable data related to a wide range of user activity. The merger, engineered by the two groups' parent companies, is partly an attempt to protect the Japanese market from encroachment from outside.

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