You may think of LINE as just another one of those mobile messaging apps like Viber, Whatsapp, Kik, WeChat, etc. It may look like it but it’s the most fun way to message your friends and also has quite a number of apps associated with it.
LINE is really an entire mobile ecosystem. Aside from their messaging app, they also have a fun camera app, a handful of games, and a wide array of apps including an anti-virus. LINE calls it, a genuine Smartphone Life Platform.
LINE is big. Its mother company, NHN Corporation, replaces Google in South Korea. LINE messaging app started out in June 2011 but now has 150 million users in 231 countries. It also holds the No. 1 spot in the “˜free apps’ category of app stores in 43 countries.
Jin-woo Lee, General Manager of LINE, flew from Korea to talk about their plans on how to push their service to cater to Filipinos.
So what makes LINE so successful? It’s because of those damn stickers featuring their quirkily drawn main characters ““ Brown the bear, Cony the rabbit, Moon, and James.
Because emoticons are so old-school and emoji’s are just too plain, it’s better to show your friend the degree of your happiness or disappointment with the use of LINE’s cute stickers. Because it’s more fun to send a sticker of Brown sticking a pin into a voodoo doll rather than an angry emoticon. With LINE, sometimes you would rather send stickers than a message because it’s just that fun.
LINE’s main revenue stream is through the purchase of sticker sets although there are quite a lot of free ones to start you out. The sticker shop offers more than 4,000 stickers to date which includes current pop culture icons such as PSY and Iron Man, and a lot of themed sets that should suit your mood. Imagine if they create a sticker set of Vice Ganda.
LINE is also used as a global marketing platform for brands and celebrities. Something like Twitter and Facebook pages but with what they call Official Accounts. Users can follow the official LINE accounts of corporate brands and celebrities where they can view updates and even interact with with them in real-time during “˜On Air Mode’.
Current line up of LINE Official Accounts include big names of Korea such as Wonder Girls, Super Junior, 2PM, and even US hip-hop greats like T-Pain and Snoop Dogg. They are planning to tap local celebrities and brands to expand their footprint in the country.
I also like LINE Camera which lets you add frames, stickers and doodads on your photos before you can post them on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
Finally, LINE is also the home to a wide variety of games, such as LINE Play, LINE Jelly, LINE Pop, and LINE Bubble which I think is how some first became accustomed to the brand.
LINE can be enjoyed across multiple platforms (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia Asha, and Windows Phone) over 3G, 4G, and WiFi, and you can have the same user on more than one device at a time. It is also available for your PC!
They also have a set of LINE merchandise featuring their lovable characters. These are huge in Japan and South Korea, and depending on how Filipinos warm up to Brown and company, they might also bring them here.