The technology world has been abuzz with news of Alibaba’s record-setting IPO last Friday. The IPO showcased the potential of China’s tech magnates, but investors knew it would not be the last blockbuster IPO of 2014. Line, the messaging app with 490 million registered users and an ecommerce arm of its own, was expecting to go public as well. Having built up an empire of cute, the company had prepared public filings in both Japan and America. Line never revealed if it intended to do a double filing or ultimately pick one country over the other.
Taiwanese Line addicts who like a little kawaii with their Quora will soon have a favorite new app. The team behind the popular mobile messenger has rolled out Line Q, a social Q&A app not unlike Yahoo! Answers, for domestic users. The app works much as one might expect – users register with a pseudonym (you’re not allowed to use your Line ID as your Line Q ID – which is a good thing), choose a few categories they’re interested in, and can then begin posting questions and replying to submissions from other people.
Today the team behind Line, the popular Japanese mobile messenger best known for its games and stickers, revealed a regional breakdown of its registered user counts. In the past, Line has consistently disclosed its number of users in key markets like Taiwan, Thailand, and Japan, but the whereabouts of its remaining 300 million-some odd users remained unknown. The company regularly claimed to have strong traction in Southeast Asia and the Spanish-speaking world, and while we wouldn’t doubt the company, it’s nice to finally see some numbers next to country names.
If you’re addicted to Line and have plans to go backpacking in Bangkok, you’re in luck – Thailand’s tourist police force has released a free sticker set that users can download after following a dedicated account. The notion of a police force-themed sticker set in Thailand might seem eerily Orwellian given the country is currently under martial law. But the Thailand Tourist Police isn’t a real police force – they’re badged officers (some of whom are volunteers) that settle theft, disputes, and other minor emergencies that aren’t uncommon when traveling.
When Japanese messaging app Line reveals its quarterly revenues, we know what to expect – growth, growth, growth. The quarter ending in June 2014 is no exception, as today the company revealed revenues for the app hit JPY 18.2 billion (about US$177 million), up 25 percent from the previous quarter and 146 percent year-on-year. As usual, the company hasn’t provided details regarding profits or losses, so there’s no telling how the growth may or may not compensate for the ad dollars the company is throwing in markets all over the world.
SEOUL: Line Corp, a Japan-based social messaging service firm, has filed for an initial public offering in the United States, Bloomberg News reported on Friday, citing unidentified sources. Line’s parent company, South Korea’s Naver Corp, said on Wednesday that Line had filed for an initial public offering in Tokyo. Banking sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Wednesday that the listing will ultimately be either a dual US-Japan listing or a listing only in the United States.
Thai shoppers, rejoice – popular Japanese chat app Line, which has 24 million registered users in the Land of Smiles, just rolled out a standalone ecommerce app specifically for its fans in Thailand. The move follows the company’s release of a similar app for Japan last March. We took that app for a test drive but couldn’t really get more than a superficial understanding of what it was about due to this writer’s inability to read Japanese. Luckily, however, Thailand’s Line Shop is partially in English, so it’s time to jump iTunes’ fence again and go for a spin.
Both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal say this afternoon say they have it on good authority that messaging app Line is set to file for a huge IPO with the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSX). No other details are available. This is contrary to the words of NHN CFO Hwang In-joon last year when he said that the firm was considering listing Line in the US in order to boost its global standing.
One week ago, internet users in China started to report malfunctions on popular foreign services Line, KakaoTalk, Flickr, and OneDrive. The disruptions have yet to subside at the time of writing. Media organizations including Tech in Asia have run their own unscientific tests and found that some users in the mainland cannot access or use these services. GreatFire.org, an anonymous organization that monitors online censorship in China, claimed that that these services have indeed been “blocked” by Chinese authorities.
Have Chinese authorities added Japanese chat app Line to its internet blacklist? [See bottom for update from Greatfire.org] Today our colleagues in mainland China fired up Line, where Tech in Asia houses its non-urgent communications, only to find that messages they sent were marked with an exclamation point, indicating some sort of technical error. That might not mark an immediate cause for concern. Line goes down frequently, not unlike any other social network, and even suffered a major outage two days ago.
Early last month popular Japanese messaging app Line officially opened up its Creators Market in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia, letting graphic designers sell their own graphics to users while splitting the fees 50-50 with the company. The market not only produced some extremely cool stickers, but brought in some respectable revenues for Line as well. In its first month of operations, the company brought in JPY 150 million (about US$1.47 million) in sales and doled out 1.7 million sticker sets.
TOKYO, June 19 — Smartphone messenger application Line, which has hundreds of millions of users across Asia, was urging people to change their passwords today as Japanese police investigated the hacking of hundreds of accounts. At least 303 cases of unauthorised access were confirmed between late May and June 14, including three that involved cash trades resulting in financial loss, a Line spokesman told AFP, without providing further details.
TAIPEI — Japan’s Line Corp., creator of the fast-growing social messaging app Line, said Wednesday that it will begin a pilot program June 10 to host flash sales for consumer brands in Taiwan, one of its largest markets in the world. Taiwanese Line users can add an official account for the “Line Flash Sale” to their “friends” list from Thursday, which will give them access to exclusive sale events on the platform, including sales of cosmetics, footwear and Line’s own branded merchandise.