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Mobile messenger Line rising in Asia
Publication Date : 29-07-2013
Mobile messenger Line is sweeping Asian markets with its localised content.
Line, developed by Korean internet giant NHN Corporation, has already become one of the dominant mobile messengers in Asia with the number of users marking 200 million as of July 21.
The figure is expected to hit 300 million by the end of this year, according to NHN.
It said that Japan, China, India and Thailand had driven the rapid growth of the mobile application.
The mobile application now accounts for 44 per cent of the Japanese market, where Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp Messenger take up 15 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively.
The NHN instant messaging application maintains a 4 per cent market share in China, and 12 million, or 90 per cent, of Taiwanese smartphone users have downloaded the app.
“With Instagram, a photo-sharing social networking service, Line dominates the mobile messenger market in Thailand, enjoying huge popularity due to its strength in mobile chat services,” a Line official working in the Southeast nation said.
An increasing number of new users from South American nations including Brazil and Mexico also helped the growth of the app.
Experts say its unique services that meet the needs of users in each region is what has enabled the internet firm to become one of the strongest players in the world market.
Serviced in 16 languages including Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese, and Portuguese, the mobile app allows Line users, or “liners,” to utilise various characters while chatting on the app.
“These cute and lively characters unavailable on other mobile apps such as Facebook and WhatsApp seem to have caught the eyes of mobile users,” a market watcher said.
Reports show a rosy picture for the mobile messenger, predicting it will likely maintain a high growth momentum with its sales profit recording 95 billion won (US$85 million) in the second quarter.
However, infiltrating the US and European markets seems to be an uphill battle, according to market researchers, as the firm currently maintains only a 1 per cent market share in both regions.
“NHN should take a cautious move in its efforts to increase its ground in Europe and the US which have already been preoccupied with strong market players. It would better increase its market share in those regions gradually after solidifying its position in Asian markets,” a market researcher said.
Market watchers also advise that Line has to overcome Kakao Talk, the top dog on the domestic front which has an 88 per cent market share.
Line accounts for mere 6 per cent in the domestic market.