LINE moves forward

Highlights from messaging app LINE’s 2014 Showcase press event as documented by nobi.com’s Nobuyuki Hayashi

  • 360 million users. On track for 500M by the end of the year.
  • International “Creators Market” for stamps like App Store with LINE taking 50% of sales. Open to artists and illustrators for free.
  • LINE Business Connect with open API to LINE Official Accounts (McDonalds, celebrity, etc) allowing for “tailored” messages to individual LINE users.
  • Improving LINE IP phone call audio quality and ease of use

Later in the Q&A Sessions, one of the press member asked how the breakdown of revenue will change in the future.

Masuda answered “ We don’t rely on single business model. It is natural that each services has ups and downs. It is also natural that each country has its own trend. Setting out a rule about how much of our revenue must come from which services makes no sense. We provide many free services but we don’t think they are money loser, either. Actually, those can be the areas where we can show our business real skills.”

Also asked about how they would compete with WhatsApp and other messaging apps, Masuda said “We don’t build our services for differentiation. We are only here to provide the best service we can make.”

Nobuyuki Hayashi | nobi.com

It’s not hard to square the above with Line Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Jun Masuda’s comments to the Wall Street Journal recently:

Some messaging apps may choose to keep things simple and offer little more than messaging, but we think that messaging services can play central roles in the mobile era like portals did in the PC era.

I like and use LINE so perhaps I’m jaded, but I do think LINE is in line (excuse the pun) to be one of the “next big things”.