Line temporarily cancels its IPO

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.

Line brings its Q&A app to Taiwan in advance of its plunge into local ecommerce

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.

Spread the news: BBC takes to popular messaging app Line

The BBC has just started using the popular messaging app Line to share news. The British broadcaster now has an official account on Line in 11 countries – the US, Australia, Spain, Germany, Italy, India, France, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. With this, the BBC is sharing a mix of headlined images and very short video clips overlaid with captions to its followers. It looks like this:

Line releases regional breakdowns for its 490 million registered users

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.

Thailand’s tourist police get cute with new sticker sets on Line

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.

Line takes aim at Rakuten and Amazon, to launch five new ecommerce services

Line, the messaging app that has nabbed 490 million registered users in three years, announced its plans for becoming a major player in the ecommerce industry at a news conference in Tokyo today. The strategy marks an interesting inflection point for Line. The service gained popularity for it’s colorful stickers, grew its revenue base with mobile games , and now has its sights set on ecommerce.

$12M in sales for user-generated stickers on LINE

Line’s DIY sticker shop is proving to be a respectable hit. The company behind the popular messaging app is reporting that user-created stickers hit JPY 1.23 billion (just under US$12 million) in sales for the three-and-a-half month period ending August 7. While that is still a small fraction of LINE’s overall revenues – US$177 million from April to June 2014 – it still shows remarkable growth.

Line announces $100M fund just for mobile games, acquires 10% stake in Gumi

The smartphone gaming market is a fickle beast. Hit games once elevated the revenues of DeNA (TYO:2432 ) and Gree (TYO:3632 ) to the stratosphere but neither gaming giant has truly conquered the international market. A major obstacle is their inability to create a development platform that can rival the App Store or Google Play in terms of users or developers. Line, the Japanese corporation taking over the world with free messaging and fun stickers, thinks it can be the company to finally crack the code.

Line sends message to chat rivals with possible Tokyo listing

TOKYO, Aug 3 — A messaging app launched in the aftermath of Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Line is moving towards a possible dual listing in Tokyo and New York as it jostles for space in an increasingly crowded and imaginative market. Combining instant messaging with shopping, gaming and other features such as letting users send each other cute cartoon “stickers”, Line is hugely popular in Japan, particularly among teenagers.

Line revenues spike 25% to US$177M as the company shotguns towards IPO

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.

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.