More than a year after it first hit Japan, Line’s standalone ecommerce app has finally arrived in Taiwan. Currently available on Android, Line Mart features the same interface as Line Mall, its analogous Japanese counterpart. Users can browse through an assortment of categories like clothing and electronics, to find an item they’re interested in. Buyers can “heart” an item they like and leave messages for sellers.
Line Pay, the payments solution-focused subsidiary of Japanese messaging company Line, has agreed to buy out Tokyo-based WebPay Holdings in order to accelerate Line Pay’s business expansion. WebPay provides a Stripe-compatible payment processing solutions for e-commerce, web services, and mobile developers in Japan.
Line, the messaging app superstar whose press releases constantly thwart my attempts at inbox zero, has a new announcement which is sure to please entrepreneurs. Line@, the company’s version of a corporate account is going global. Signing up for the account, available via the separate Line@ app (iOS or Android), is free and multiple individuals from a single orgainzation can use their official one simultaneously.
Line, the messaging app taking over the world one sticker at a time, just announced a new investment fund. Titled the Line Life Global Gateway, the fund will operate independently from Line Ventures, although the latter company along with Line itself are the only two parties putting up capital. The JPY 500 million (US$42 million) fund went live on February 4th and is expected to operate for 10 years.
Line, the popular messaging app with 181 million monthly active users at the last count, is set to launch online grocery deliveries across Southeast Asia. Line’s new online supermarket service launches first in Thailand on February 4. It promises discounts on some everyday groceries that people need to stock up on often, such as bottled water, coffee, and instant noodles. There’ll be free delivery for Thai shoppers.
Naver said Thursday its operating profit in the fourth quarter grew 30.3 percent from a quarter ago, led by robust growth from its advertisement sales. The nation’s largest Internet service provider said in its regulatory filing on Thursday that it has posted 196.1 billion won between October and December, compared to 150.6 billion won a year ago. Its sales stood at 750.2 billion won in the same period, up 19.3 percent from last year’s 628.8 billion won.
The parent company of the Line mobile-chat application Tuesday denied press reports that government is monitoring messages sent through the service in Thailand. “No monitoring by the Thailand government has been conducted,” Nam Ji Woong, a spokesman for South Korea-based Naver Corp., which owns Line Corp., said by e-mail today. “Line considers consumers’ privacy as a top priority.” The government was monitoring more than 40 million messages sent via Line each day, Khaosod reported, citing Pornchai Rujiprapa, Thailand’s minister of information, communication, and technology.
ICT Minister Pornchai Rujiprapa at a press conference yesterday said Thai authorities “can monitor all of the nearly 40 million Line messages sent by people in Thailand each day,” according to The Nation. The minister said citizens can lodge complaints with police if they receive messages that “offend the monarchy and threaten national security.”
In a surprise announcement, Japan’s blockbuster messaging service Line announced that current CEO Akira Morikawa will step down in March, passing the torch at a high point of success, expansion into promising new territory, and a likely 2015 IPO. Morikawa will be succeeded by current COO Takeshi Idezawa, whose promotion may have been foreshadowed at Line Conference Tokyo 2014 back in October.
After an unnamed (and hopefully still employed) Line staffer messaged several publications December 4 about the release of Line Pay, the messaging giant had to scramble to put out the word that the app was not live. Almost two weeks later, Line Pay is here, and enduring a bumpy rollout. The payment function is meant to strengthen Line’s ecosystem. With Line Pay, users can send each other money wirelessly without divulging personal information like bank account details.
The popular messaging app already hosts online auctions, connects users with celebrities and offers online gaming and now it’s adding mobile payments to its growing list of services. Line Pay, which was initially launched as a new service only for Japanese users in October, is about to go live, globally. Once a credit or debit card is linked to a user’s Line account, they will be able to use the app to make purchases at both supporting physical and online stores.
Over the weekend, Chinese language learners looking for their favorite dictionary got greeted by a bunny instead. Nciku, a popular online Chinese-English dictionary, now redirects to linedictionary.naver.com, the web version of Line’s Chinese-English Dictionary. Users who land on the site for the first time are shown a message informing them that Nciku is now ‘out of service’ and will be replaced by LINE Dictionary.
Korean mobile game designer 4:33 Creative Lab has attracted fresh investment from Tencent and Line Corp, according to BeSUCCESS. The dollar amount was undisclosed, but BeSUCCESS puts the figure north of US$100 million. Tencent, Line, and Korea Investment Partners jointly set up a consortium in which Tencent contributed about US$110 million, according to Business Korea. After the investment made through the consortium, Tencent’s stake in 4:33 Creative Lab comes out to 25 percent. 4:33 Creative Labs says it will disclose more details about the consortium later this year.