Line’s ecommerce app goes live in Taiwan

TaiwanMore 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.

How Line is turning Instagram into an ecommerce app in Thailand

ThailandLine and Instagram stand out as two of the hottest social apps in Thailand. Line is the dominant messenging platform in the nation, with over 33 million registered users. Messaging with Line has become so quotidien – one entrepreneur told me about how her mother operates several Line groups for her various circles of friends – that the app has emerged as arguably the most trusted channel of interaction outside a physical encounter.

China’s WeChat sends a message to Line and Kakao in their home turf

China.gifSINGAPORE: Mobile messaging apps Line and Kakao Talk are busy trying to conquer overseas markets such as Southeast Asia and India. But they may do well to keep a close eye on their home turf of Japan and South Korea as China’s WeChat amasses more users. Among six messaging apps, WeChat saw the biggest upptick in usage in Japan and South Korea last month versus a year earlier, boosted by its gaming, e-commerce and multimedia capabilities, according to data on Android smartphones tracked by Mobidia.

Line acquires Japanese payment startup WebPay

JapanLine 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’s business accounts go global – and they’re free

JapanLine, 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 Life Global Gateway has $42M for startups

JapanLine, 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.

Number of Line users to top 700 mil. this year

KoreaThe number of users Line, the Naver’s mobile messenger app, is expected to exceed 700 million this year, according to officials and analysts Sunday. Naver saw the number of users cross 600 million recently. “The number of users continues to grow and we see the number exceeding 10 million in 13 countries, including Turkey,” said Hwang In-joon, chief financial official (CFO) at Naver, during a recent conference call with investors.

Line gets into groceries with launch of online supermarket for Southeast Asia

JapanLine, 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.

LINE, advertisement lead Naver to Q4 profit

KoreaNaver 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.

Line cuts the revenue share of sticker creators from 50 to 35%

Line’s DIY sticker marketplace used to be known for its largesse but from February 1, its terms are going to get a lot tighter. Currently, sticker creators get 50 percent of the proceeds from selling their stamps. Next month, that number will go down to 35 percent. The change will be effective worldwide. Though gaming is Line’s biggest money maker, the messaging app’s popularization of stickers in communication is a major contributor to its viral success.

Line denies government monitoring app messages, from Thailand

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.

Thailand government listens in on entire country’s 33 million Line users, says ICT minister

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.”

Line CEO stepping down, COO to take over messaging app’s transformation

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.

Now it’s official. Line Pay is here and it’s worldwide (and has an iOS bug)

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.

Line Pay goes global

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.

China’s Nciku shuts down, redirects users to LINE dictionary

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, 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.

Line crowns Creators Market Award winners, reveals $30M revenue from user-created stickers

Last night in Tokyo, blockbuster messaging app Line held its first ever Creators Market Award ceremony. The Line Creators Market allows ordinary users to design and sell original stickers. The 40-sticker sets cost 100 yen each (US$0.85), with the creator keeping 50 percent of each sale. Line CEO Akira Morikawa took the stage before the awards were presented to reveal some impressive data about the Creators Market’s success.

Blocked messaging app Line looks for comeback in China

Months after its messaging app was blocked in China, the company behind Line is “optimistic” it can bring the service back to the country in the near future, in spite of the government’s growing censorship of the Internet. “We are very optimistic about reopening our service,” said Shin Jungho, CEO of Line Plus on Wednesday. “I cannot open today. I just want to say in the near future, I think we can open our service again.” Shin made the comments on the sidelines of the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, China, where the nation’s government has gathered tech executives from across the globe.

Korean mobile game maker 4:33 Creative Lab attracts big investment from Tencent and Line

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.

Line reports 25 million registered users in the USA, global revenues jump 16% from last quarter

Today popular messaging app Line revealed its revenues for the three-month span of July to September. If there were any doubts that the firm is poised to replace longtime heavyweights DeNA and Gree as Japan’s next big tech hope, the latest news should put them to rest. In those three months, the company raked in JPY 23 billion (US$211 million), a 16.6 percent rise from the previous quarter and a whopping 82.9 percent increase from the same period last year.