Line Corporation, the company behind Japan’s blockbuster messaging app Line, today announced its earnings report for the first quarter of 2015. Total revenue for January-March was JPY 28.1 billion (US$236 million), a 70 percent increase from the same quarter last year and a 9 percent uptick quarter-on-quarter. The Line app itself accounted for JPY 25.4 billion (US$214 million) of that figure, representing a 76 percent increase over the same quarter in 2014 and a 9 percent bump from last quarter.
One of the biggest mysteries in Japan’s startup world – what will Akira Morikawa, the former Line CEO do next? – is finally solved. Morikawa unveiled his new project, a video media startup called C Channel. He also secured JPY 500 million (US$4.1 million) in funding from a banner list of investors. GMO VenturePartners, i-Style, Asobi System Holdings, Gree, Nexyz, B Dash Ventures, MAK Corporation, and Rakuten all joined the round.
Line, the chat app and gaming platform which is becoming a lifestyle portal, is restarting preparations for an IPO. The Nikkei is reporting that the company reapplied to the Tokyo Stock Exchange to begin the procedure. A 2015 IPO is possible, but not guaranteed. The move is new CEO Takeshi Idezawa’s first order of business. Yesterday, he officially took over the top spot. No, it was not an April Fool’s joke, but a transition months in the making.
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.