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Line App Launches New Services


Line App Launches New Services
Line Messaging App Aims to Hold Ground With New Services, A host of new casework appear endure anniversary by Line Corp., which operates Japan’s ascendant smartphone messaging application, reflect the company’s efforts to authority its arena adjoin bigger players like Facebook, its arch controlling says. REPORTED BY

Facing slowing growth, Line is rapidly accretion the ambit of its casework in a bid to bolster its user abject and actualize new sources of revenue. It affairs to barrage a bargain adaptable carrier and aggrandize its adaptable transaction service, for example.

“There’s no catechism that we’re adverse companies that are larger, with added assets and bigger bazaar shares than us, so we charge to accumulate on challenging,” Arch Controlling Takeshi Idezawa said in an account Monday.

He didn’t aphorism out gluttonous an antecedent accessible alms but said annihilation had been decided.

Line’s belvedere already offers a array of appearance including games, alive music and online shopping. It is the primary advice apparatus a part of adolescent humans in Japan.

Owned by South Korean Internet aperture abettor Naver Corp., Line boasted 215 actor account alive users as of the end of endure year, with added than bisected of them in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia. But it added alone three actor in the fourth quarter.

Since demography over a year ago, Mr. Idezawa has said Line’s primary focus is in Asia—and searching for new markets area it can become No. 1. But Line isn’t accessible in China, area it is blocked, and globally trails able-bodied abaft bazaar baton WhatsApp, which Facebook Inc. acquired in 2014 for $19 billion, and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat. WhatsApp has added than one billion alive users, and WeChat has about 700 million, a lot of of them in China.

Line’s capital antecedent of revenue—which exceeded $1 billion for the aboriginal time endure year—comes from sales of amateur and its emoticon stickers, as able-bodied as advertising.

“User advance is slowing and it faces above rivals overseas, so Line needs to acquisition new sources of income,” said Hitoshi Sato, chief analyst at InfoCom Research.

Line endure year scrapped a plan to authority an IPO, casting agnosticism on its hopes of adopting the money bare to advance the app in markets alfresco Japan. While some analysts say Line may authority an IPO this year, Mr. Idezawa said the aggregation was still because its options.

“Something may move this year, but I don’t apperceive if that will be this year or the next, or whether it would be an IPO,” he said.

“When the calibration of a aggregation becomes bigger and the ambit of casework increases, it’s assured that allotment becomes an issue. So speaking in accepted terms, it’s something all companies should consider.”

During an anniversary appointment in Tokyo endure week, Line said it would barrage a adaptable account this summer that offered affairs as bargain as ¥500 ($4.42) a month, with absolute use of Line’s chat, alarm and music-streaming, as able-bodied as Facebook and Twitter.

More Japanese companies, including e-commerce behemothic Rakuten Inc., are demography aim at accustomed Japanese communications giants by entering the adaptable basic arrangement abettor business at cheaper prices. Such account providers don’t own their own basement but resell accommodation on wireless networks. Line said it would be application the cellular arrangement of NTT DoCoMo, Inc., Japan’s better adaptable carrier.

Mr. Idezawa said he hoped the new account would advice addition Japan’s smartphone assimilation rate, which is at about 50%, according to Nikkei BP Consulting, Inc. “I wish to access the amount of smartphone and Line users,” he said. Line’s aim, he said, is to become a “smart portal,” a one-stop belvedere area smartphone users can go to amuse accustomed needs from ball to taxi-hailing and shopping.

The five-year old aggregation aswell said it would accomplice with a above Japanese acclaim agenda aggregation to aggrandize its adaptable transaction service.

Serkan Toto, a adaptable industry adviser based in Tokyo, said Line has to defended its absolute user abject by introducing new initiatives accustomed able antagonism in abounding areas, including account administration and music streaming.

“They now accept to try something new, and it seems they are absorption added on what they have—a advantageous Japanese bazaar additional Thailand and Taiwan —instead of what they could become [by accretion above Asia],” he said.

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