ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailMenu BurgerPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon SearchSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Companies

Line to license its AI tools in race against Google and Amazon

Chat app developer seeks to expand its service portfolio

AI forms a key part of the new business strategy unveiled by Line CEO Takeshi Idezawa in June. (Photo by Keiichiro Sato)

TOKYO -- Chat app provider Line will license its artificial intelligence software for text recognition to outside developers for the first time as it tries to catch up with American tech leaders like Amazon in AI-based services, the Nikkei has learned.

The Tokyo-based company will begin providing technology for a fee in early 2019, starting with AI software that can understand written Japanese.

With AI specialists in short supply around the world, Line expects this tool will help companies that lack in-house developers install services like chatbots that can interact with customers through text.

Line also will open up technology that captures printed words using a camera and converts them to digital text. Potential uses for this tool include automatic translation.

New services developed using these tools would not need to be linked to Line's namesake chat app.

But the company hopes that embracing open innovation -- the sharing of proprietary technology -- leads to new and better related services, in turn increasing app usage and the revenue it generates from advertisements and payment services.

Google provides a number of cloud-based AI tools, including image recognition software that can be incorporated into systems without advanced programming skills. Amazon.com offers its product recommendation tool for a fee.

Line plans to spend 48 billion yen ($435 million) from 2019 to 2021 on research and development and other AI-related activities. Projects include its AI assistant Clova, intended for smart speakers, as well as technology that can reproduce human speech.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Get Unlimited access

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends January 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media