LINE App to achieve 300 million users by year-end: chief
By Linger Liu, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- “The LINE App service is fast expanding, as we expect to achieve 300 million global users by the end of the year,” said Kang Hyun-bin (姜玄玭), head of the LINE business office at NHN Corp. during an interview with The China Post in Taipei, yesterday.
January 9, 2013, 11:42 am TWN
NHN Corp., the developer of the smartphone application LINE, headquartered in Seongnam, South Korea, was established in 1998 and is currently one of the biggest smartphone application suppliers in the world and a leader in the Asia market with strong footholds in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
Global Market Expansion
Kang said that the LINE application is advantageously placed, given its service benefits, which ultimately aims to reach users around the globe. He explained that LINE's core service concept is to provide more value-added services and increase its graphic creativity.
“We now already have around 100 million users worldwide,” said Kang, while going on to mention that the company has an ambitious goal of reaching 300 million users in 2013, with a particular focus on emerging markets such as China, Indonesia and Malaysia. “We started from the Asian market first, while promoting LINE services in Europe and America.”
“Our highest priority should be to focus on emerging markets, from local telecommunication stability to working in-line with local mobile service retailers,” said Kang. He noted that Indonesia is a growing market in terms of smartphone users, but “the telecommunication stability is quite underdeveloped.”
In the case of China, he explained that LINE is on a constant quest to further business partnerships with third-party network providers in China. He explained that due to China's restrictive Internet policies, search websites like Google or social media titans such as Facebook are not able to introduce LINE's contributions in China. He explained that third-party network providers build the platform for LINE to reach Chinese subscribers, for instance nduoa (N多網) and wandoujia (豌豆莢).
Localization and Service Variety
Kang said the future transition of LINE business development will focus on developing and furthering a wide variety of products. Developing an instant video service to attract users, while increasing the number of LINE users applying the service on computers will be the main course of action, said Kang.
He said that simply having a functional software design was not enough to stand out on the international stage. In different markets, understanding cultural factors can create success in the app market. “Localizing app content can attract more users,” said Kang. He further explained that some of the local services in Taiwan are weather forecasting and language-learning services, and in the near future LINE may release a fortune-telling application.
Creative Story Telling
Kang said mobile business services are facing intense global competition but is also full of growing potential. He said that developing a service and financial sponsorship ecosystem will help LINE expand within the global market. “We started in Asia first, grew organically, and aim to grow even bigger,” said Kang.
He said that the mobile application service started from initiating creative business and design concepts. “It's like telling a story,” he said. The LINE application is like a story full of emotions, and interesting characters lead users into the world of application services, explained Kang.