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.
NEW DELHI: Instant messaging and voice call app LINE Friday said that it has achieved 30 million registered user base in India. The company has also introduced localized stickers such as ‘Diwali’ stickers to spice up the Indian users’ chat experience. “Optimal user experience is in the heart of every feature that we bring for our users in India, as we make sure that our new features and services take our users beyond the usual messaging communication experience,” Damandeep Singh Soni, India operations head at LINE, said.
Free messaging app provider LINE Corp. said it plans to enter new businesses such as music distribution and online bill payment services. The company also disclosed for the first time its monthly number of smartphone messaging service users, putting the figure at 170 million worldwide. LINE was expected to list its stock in Japan or abroad this year, but has put off the plans at least until next year.
When Line makes an announcement, Line really makes an announcement. Following some big revelations – including new payments, taxi hailing, and on-demand food services – the company delivered another blast of big news for Line’s gaming, manga, and music offerings. On stage at Line Conference Tokyo 2014, senior executive officer Jun Masuda explained the company’s additional plans to become the “number one entertainment platform” in Japan and beyond.
Though only three years old, Line is facing the same question that many tech titans in Japan face. How can it expand into English-speaking countries? The company’s messaging app is rampantly popular around the world, with nearly 500 million registered users. However, take a closer look under the hood and find that the app has had limited success with speakers of the global lingua franca. The US, where it claims to have 10 million registered users, ranks last on the company’s list of top 10 markets. Indonesia (second) and India (fourth) also rank but users in those countries are not necessarily speaking English.
Back in July, blockbuster messaging app Line revealed a partnership with New York venture capital firm Collaborative Fund to give a boost to the Japan-based app’s western expansion. Today, the duo announced a pitch contest that will put six budding American startups on stage for a chance at future collaboration with Line. “The collaboration could be in the form of investment or partnership,” Sebastien Park, a Collaborative Fund associate, tells Tech in Asia. “The Line team will be at the event.”
Line, the messaging app with nearly 500 million registered users worldwide, is starting a new service in its home base of Japan. Nikkei is reporting that the company intends to help customers track their personal finances by spring 2015. If a user adds his or her bank’s official account to the friend list and verifies a bank account, they will receive notices from that bank when money is deposited or withdrawn. Users will also be able to confirm the current amount of cash in the account at any given time.
Taiwan banned all government workers from using instant messaging services including Naver Corp.’s Line and Microsoft Corp.’s MSN over security concerns, the Cabinet said in a statement Tuesday night. A ban on downloading the software onto government PCs will also be enforced, it said. The statement didn’t elaborate on the nature of the security concerns. Cyber security was brought to the government’s attention in August after Helsinki-based F-Secure Oyj alleged devices from China’s Xiaomi Corp. collect and transmit personal data to Beijing.