What Happened to Line, The Japanese App That Wanted to Compete with WhatsApp?

Contrary to what is thought, the application is still valid: in 2015 it exceeded 100 million users, while in 2017 it had 150 million

Multiple instant messaging applications tried to compete with WhatsApp. One of them was Line, the Japanese app launched in 2011 by the company Naver Japan. Below we tell you how it came about and what its current situation is.

When Naver Japan, a subsidiary of the South Korean conglomerate Naver Corporation, wanted to consolidate itself in the Japanese market, it was not very successful. Since the commercial projection had not reached expectations, its strategy focused on the launch of two apps.

According to the Toyo Keizai medium, they would first launch a photo storage service and then an instant messaging application. However, the company’s plans changed when the earthquake and tsunami struck in March 2011 and millions lost power.

Despite this, WIFI networks and 3G communications were still working in some regions, so Naver Japan decided to prioritize the launch of Line.

Development of the app began at the end of April 2011 and was released just two months later. The app was free and didn’t weigh much because it would only serve to send and receive messages. Sometime later the voice call function was added

The number of users continued to increase and, thanks to a marketing campaign, it managed to further boost its insertion in the market. Gradually, the company added new features like a social feed and stories, similar to what Instagram does.

After a few years, Line already had millions of users and Japanese citizens were already incorporating it into their daily lives. In 2014, its employee base increased to 550. After a while, the stickers were implemented, and to access these, users now had to pay an amount. In 2016, the company had already achieved a sum of 270 million dollars a year after this addition.

Lines Today

In this way, Line became a super app that had its payment system, a taxi service, a news center, an online article platform, a medical service, and a platform similar to Spotify.

Contrary to what is thought, the application is still valid: in 2015 it exceeded 100 million users, while in 2017 it exceeded 150 million. By 2020, according to the company, it had 194 million. While WhatsApp is more popular in the West, Line targets Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, and Taiwan.

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