Characters from the Line messaging app are displayed inside Line Corp.'s LINE Friends Harajuku store on July 11, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan.

Tomohiro Ohsumi | Getty Images

Characters from the Line messaging app are displayed inside Line Corp.’s LINE Friends Harajuku store on July 11, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan.

Japanese messaging service Line Corp is expanding its reach into financial technology, or fintech, with a new company that offers a cryptocurrency exchange, loans and insurance.

The Tokyo and U.S.-listed firm already offers a money transfer and payment service called Line Pay, but on Wednesday announced it would launch a new division called the Line Financial Corporation to let users exchange digital currencies and use other financial services within the app.

It did not add specific details on what this would entail.

Line added that it intends to “promote research and development of technologies such as blockchain” with the creation of its new financial offering. It claimed that its payments unit had scored “major growth” in 2017, with a global annual transaction volume of more than 450 billion yen ($4.1 billion) and 40 million registered users.

The Japanese firm has 168 million monthly active users and is facing increased competition from the likes of Facebook-owned WhatsApp in its four key markets of Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Taiwan.

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