Line – A Growing Messaging App

Another big player entered the messaging-app market this month. The Japanese-based messaging app Line that lets users makes free voice calls, exchange text messages, graphic, video and audio media and hold free audio and videoconference just announced that it has now more than 400 million users.  Launched in 2011, Line’s original purpose was to offer an alternative communication channels after an earthquake damaged the telecommunication infrastructure throughout Japan. Internet-based, Line was the appropriate answer to the tragic situation. In June 2011, it was rendered public and quickly became highly popular.

As you can see on the chart, Line simply doubled the number of registered users within less than a year. And gained another 100 million users in just 4 months –  since November.

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According to the company, its users profile are strongly international with 50 million users in Japan (it biggest market), 24 million in Thailand, 20 million in Indonesia, 18 million in India. There are now 10 million users in the US while Spain remains the company’s biggest European market with approximately 10 million users. Line hit its new daily record with 10 billion messages sent on March 21st. However, it is quite important to mention that Line has a very peculiar way of counting its users. It simply double counts users who have one account but use Line on multiple devices. Their total number might be a little under but it does not question the growing popularity of the messaging-app. What is certain though is that the company still makes profit. In 2013, Line brought $338 million of revenue which was mostly coming from its in-game purchase (60% of revenue) and sticker purchase (20% of revenue), official accounts and sponsored stickers. Indeed, the company business model is quite different from its competitors. For instance, Line recently did a group buying flash sale in Thailand, a bit like Groupon does, and it happened to be a great success.

The messaging-app trend is a clear reality – WhatsApp announced on April 1st  its new daily record of 64 billion messages handled.

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