Line launches ‘hidden chat’ to do what Facebook couldn’t – kill Snapchat

Line users who obsessively update the app noticed a new treat today – a Snapchat-like function called hidden chat. Hidden chat can be chosen from the same drop down menu as video chat or phone call. Currently only available for one-on-one chats, the feature allows users to engage in a private conversation that will be deleted. Each message will be visible for up to one minute and the exact time is adjustable by the user. Text, stickers, and photos are all covered. Video files, however, cannot be sent via hidden chat.

Messaging app firm Line Corp filed for US IPO: report

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.

Line’s new ecommerce app for Thailand is the scruffy cousin to its shopping app in Japan

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.

Line prepping IPO on Tokyo Stock Exchange rather than in US: report

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.

Tests reveal Line and Kakao disruptions in China mirror the government’s block on Facebook

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., an anonymous organization that monitors online censorship in China, claimed that that these services have indeed been “blocked” by Chinese authorities.

Japanese chat app Line appears to be blocked in mainland China

Have Chinese authorities added Japanese chat app Line to its internet blacklist? [See bottom for update from] 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.

Line’s DIY sticker store now goes live in the US, UK, and 7 more countries

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.

Line urges app users to change passwords amid hacking probe

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.

Line Corp takes on the world

TOKYO: In the three years since it launched its free messaging app, Japan-based Line has attracted more than 430 million users in 230 countries. As the user-base expands, revenue is also skyrocketing. In the first quarter of 2014, revenue was 223 per cent higher than a year earlier at US$144 million. In an interview with Channel NewsAsia correspondent Mike Firn, the chief operating officer of Line Corp, Takeshi Idezawa, talked about how Line plans to keep on growing and attracting more users.

Chat app Line will tackle local mobile commerce market

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.

Chat app Line is now selling user-created stickers. Here are our favorites

Japan’s powerhouse messaging app Line announced last February that it would begin accepting applications for sticker sets made by ordinary folks (or more likely, independent designers), to whom the company would share 50 percent of the sales revenues with. Late last week, while Tech in Asia was in the thick of Startup Asia Singapore 2014, the app’s “Creators Market” officially opened for business.

Chinese Android App Store Inks Deal with Japanese Messaging App LINE

Chinese Android app store Wandoujia has reached a deal with Japan’s top messaging app Line for Wandoujia to run Line’s business and marketing in mainland China. Under the deal, Wandoujia will reportedly provide technical support for Line’s operation in mainland China. They will also jointly enhance Line’s localized content resource and operation, integrate brand marketing of both parties, and combine their platform advantages to assist quality developers and content providers.

Japanese Messaging Company Line Posts $143 Million In Revenue, Up 123% Year-Over-Year

Japanese messaging company LINE posted impressive revenue and user numbers.  In a release it says revenue from the core LINE operations was 14.6 billion yen, or $143 million. It also says it has 420 million users now.  For comparison, WhatsApp, which Facebook valued at $19 billion, has 500 million active monthly users. There is no disclosed revenue for WhatsApp, but analysts at Sterne Agee estimated it at $20 million

Upgraded Line app will let businesses go one-on-one with customers

TOKYO — Line, the company behind the namesake Internet application, will start offering a free messaging service next month that will enable businesses to communicate individually with customers.  The Tokyo company currently offers retailers and restaurants a plan in which they can send only mass messages. This Line business app will be revamped in mid-May, enabling one-to-one messaging with customers for free. Advance registrations will be accepted starting Thursday.

Line hits two new highs – 400 million registered users, 10 billion messages sent per day

Japan-made messaging app Line revealed today that it now has 400 million registered users. While the app is most popular in Japan, it boasts having over 10 million users in 10 countries – including Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Mexico, and the US. The company also revealed today that the chat app hit new highs in 2014 in terms of usage – 10 billion messages in one day; 1.8 billion stickers sent in a single day; and over 12 million online calls in one day.

Line now has 390 million users with Japan and Thailand as top countries

Today, along with the opening of a new Bangkok office, the makers of Line messaging app revealed its latest user numbers – 390 million registered users worldwide.  Last August Line had 230 million registered users. Seven months on and that number has grown by almost 70 percent. However, Line still refuses to disclose how many active users it has, which is a much more useful metric. WeChat has 355 million active users right now, while WhatsApp has 465 million.

Line Game hits 300 million downloads as social gaming takes off

Last week, chat app Line announced that it passed the 300 million download milestone for its gaming platform Line Game. That’s a huge achievement considering it is under two years old, launching just in July 2012.  Currently Line has 50 game titles which include Line Pokopang (30 million downloads since February 2014), Line Cookie Run (18 million downloads since March 2014), and Line Rangers (6 million downloads since March 2014). All of those hefty downloads and gaming activities contribute significantly to Line’s $338.4 million in revenue in 2013.

Kiddies rejoice, Japan’s Line messenger will launch an app for streaming family movies

Popular Japanese messenger Line has announced it will soon launch an app that streams family-friendly movies, reports The Bridge. According to a post on its official blog (which we’re reading using Google Translate), the films will all be geared towards children aged up to six years old, and will include over 1,500 well-known titles such as “Pokemon,” “Spongebob Squarepants,” and “Powerpuff girls.” iPhone owners in Japan will be the first to check out the new app, with an Android version set to arrive in Spring 2014 – and since it’s already Spring 2014, that probably means “soon.”

You can now call cell phones and landlines using Line, but only on Android

The latest update to Japan’s top social messaging app Line comes with a Viber- and Skype-like voice call feature (hat-tip to @WhatTheBit for spotting). The iOS version hasn’t got the update yet.  Calls can be made to mobile and landline numbers from Columbia, Japan, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Spain, Thailand, and the US. Taiwan has been left out of the pack for now. Users must be registered with their current phone number.  A 30-day plan costs JPY 6.5 (about US$0.06), or JPY 14 (US$0.13) per minute to cellphones and JPY 3 (about US$0.03) to landlines on the pay-as-you-go plan.

Line Corp received no stake purchase offer from SoftBank: Line COO

TOKYO (Reuters) – Line Corp, a Japan-based mobile messaging service operator, has not received an offer for a stake purchase from SoftBank Corp, the company’s chief operating officer said on Wednesday. Shares in SoftBank and in Line’s South Korean parent company, Naver Corp, surged on Tuesday after a Bloomberg News report that SoftBank and Line had held talks on a stake sale. Line and Naver both denied that talks had taken place.–sector.html