Yahoo Japan operator plans hiring blitz in bid to rival GAFA

A website of Yahoo Japan Corp is seen on a computer screen in Tokyo August 19, 2009.

Yahoo Japan operator Z Holdings Corp. plans to hire a large number of skilled engineers and others in various tech fields ahead of a planned merger with Line Corp., operator of the free communication app of the same name, scheduled for March.

The firm is aiming to strengthen its overseas business development team in a bid to compete with U.S. tech giants Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, collectively known as GAFA.

The combined workforce at Yahoo and Line in the targeted fields is currently less than 10,000.

“The number of employees is far from sufficient,” said Z Holdings President Kentaro Kawabe during an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun. “With the numbers we have now, we can’t compete.”

The firm said it also plans to recruit outside personnel.

Z Holdings last year launched an initiative to allow full-time employees and freelance workers at other companies to moonlight for Yahoo Japan. The company received over 4,500 applications for positions and hired more than 100 people, who are now working at the firm.

The company is expected to make another announcement in March regarding strategy after integrating its business with Line.

Z Holdings said it will focus on creating synergies in the financial technology, or fintech, and e-commerce fields, eyeing to expand its services also in Southeast Asia, where Line has a strong presence.

“We’ll link the services of both companies so users can use the two conveniently,” Kawabe said.