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Chat app Line plans a 'flash sales' expansion in SE Asia

TAIPEI -- Japan-based Line Corp., operator of the popular mobile messaging application Line, plans to bring its “flash sales” initiative to more countries in Southeast Asia as it pushes into the mobile commerce market.

Kang Hyun-bin, head of the business development division at Line Plus Corp., said Tuesday at a summit on 4G development in Taipei that his company is considering launching flash sales in Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore, following the service's success in Thailand and Taiwan.

Line Plus is the strategic partnership company of Tokyo-based Line and is in charge of Line's global sales and marketing.

Kang did not reveal any timetable for future launches of “flash sales,” which give users access to goods available for purchase on Line's mobile platform, including items such as cosmetics, footwear and Line's own branded merchandise.

Flash sales are becoming an increasingly popular way to sell products online in Asia because the direct-to customer approach allows companies to save costs on excess inventory and distribution to third-party vendors.

Line, an app that was created after the 2011 earthquake crippled Japan's phone networks, claims to have nearly 500 million users worldwide. Japan remains Line's biggest market with more than 52 million users, followed by Thailand with 27 million and Indonesia with 20 million. Taiwan is one of its top markets, with over 17 million users.

Taiwan began Line flash sales in June this year, making it the second country to launch the mobile service after the developer announced a partnership in December last year with all-in-one e-commerce logistics firm aCommerce and the Maybelline cosmetics brand to sell to customers in Thailand.

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