ITOCHU Signs MOU with FamilyMart and LINE

Clova and other LINE services to link with FamilyMart’s next generation of stores

June 15, 2017

ITOCHU Corporation, FamilyMart Co., Ltd. and LINE Corporation have concluded a Memorandum of Understanding to promote the collaborative development of new products, technologies and services for FamilyMart’s next generation of stores, which will be linked to LINE’s Clova cloud AI platform and other services.

ITOCHU Corporation was an early pioneer in the consumption goods field, establishing a solid position among other Japanese “sogo shosha” (general trading companies) in the non-resource sector. In the distribution field, ITOCHU is the largest shareholder of FamilyMart, and is engaged in efforts to support the further enhancement of its corporate value. In addition, in the IT field, ITOCHU is aggressively promoting new business development in Japan and overseas through the use of advanced technologies and advanced business and service models, built up through over 30 years of venture investment activities.

FamilyMart has approximately 24,000 stores in and outside Japan. As a vital piece of infrastructure in the neighborhood retail sector, FamilyMart is “always fresh,” delivering small surprises with every visit, as it strives to be the convenience store closest to the heart of consumers. FamilyMart is now engaged with a variety of stakeholders as it aggressively employs AI and the Internet of Things to build the next generation of communication-focused stores that will resonate with the hearts and minds of its customers.

Under its mission of “Closing the Distance,” LINE is dedicated to not only bringing people closer to each other, but also to bringing people closer to a wide variety of information and services. With its massive Japanese user base of 68 million monthly active users (MAU; as of March 31, 2017) and high engagement rates, LINE is in the process of building a “Smart Portal” whereby a whole world of content is connected together through LINE. The company is also moving forward with development of the Clova cloud AI platform, a new strategy for the post-smartphone, post-display and post-touch era.

All three companies – as they prepare communication infrastructure tailored to their customers’ needs and purchase histories for FamilyMart’s next generation of stores – are exploring collaborative product, technology and service development opportunities that link with LINE’S Clova cloud AI platform and other various services as well as the possibilities of overseas expansion.

Conceptual Video:

About Clova

Clova is a cloud AI platform developed by LINE Corporation, the leading messaging app in Japan and other Asian markets. LINE is developing a variety of services and products using Clova, as it pursues a “post-smartphone, post-display, post-touch” world, expanding the possibilities of communication.

Overview of the Respective Companies

ITOCHU Corporation

Head office 2-5-1, Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8077
Main business Domestic trading, import/export, and overseas trading of various products such as textile, machinery, metals, energy, chemicals, food, general products, information and communications technology, and finance, as well as business investment in Japan and overseas.
Representative Masahiro Okafuji, President and Chief Executive Officer
Incorporated December 1, 1949
Number of employees 4,381 (as of April 1, 2017)
Capital JPY 253.448 billion

FamilyMart Co., Ltd.

Head office 3-1-1, Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo 170-6017
Main business Franchised convenience store business
Representative Takashi Sawada, President & Chief Executive Officer
Established July 2, 2001
Employees 6,101 consolidated (as of February 29, 2016)
Capital JPY 8.3804 billion

LINE Corporation

Head office 23F, JR Shinjuku Miraina Tower, 4-1-6 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022
Main business Provision and operation of content, services and other web services available on the LINE messaging app and LINE Platform
Representative Takeshi Idezawa, Chief Executive Officer
Established September 4, 2000 (Changed trade name from NHN Japan Corporation to LINE Corporation on April 1, 2013)
Employees 1,438 non-consolidated (as of April 1, 2017)
Capital JPY 79.353 billion (as of March 31, 2017)