LINE, the Japan-based messaging app provider, said it had reached 400 million registered users, with rising usage levels and an increasingly international profile.
Although the headline figure is impressive, the fact that it is registered users rather than monthly active users makes comparisons with rival messaging apps difficult.
WhatsApp’s most recent monthly active user figure is 450 million, while Tencent’s WeChat/Weixin has 355 million monthly active users.
However, LINE has added 30 million registered users since the beginning of March, when it had 370 million users. It reached 300 million users in November last year.
Additions peaked at 1.7 million per day in 2014, and 10 countries now have more than 10 million LINE users, including the US, South Korea, Malaysia and Mexico.
Usage has also increased in 2014, with record daily usage figures of 10 billion chat messages, 1.8 billion sticker messages and 12 million phone calls.
Akira Morikawa, CEO of LINE, said the rapid proliferation of smartphones has seen competition in the global communications app market become “fiercer than ever, and is only intensifying every day”.
He reiterated the company’s goal to reach 500 million registered users during 2014 and said the company “aims to further its growth and become the world’s top communications infrastructure, taking on many new challenges along the way”.
The company extended its LINE Call voice offering at the beginning of March, enabling low cost calls to mobile phones and landlines both domestically and internationally in Japan, the US, Mexico, Spain, Thailand and the Philippines. The messaging platform previously only offered free voice and video calls between LINE users.
The news followed WhatsApp’s announcement that it will launch a voice service, while Viber also recently boosted its efforts to generate revenue by introducing functionality that enables users to make low-cost calls to any mobile or landline phone number.
In addition, LINE launched Business Connect, a customisable corporate service that allows business users to send targeted, optimised messages to specific users; and LINE Creators Market, an open platform for the sale of user-produced stickers.
The new services are part of the ‘Beyond LINE’ initiative in which the company is looking to evolve the services it offers users.