LINE Corp, the Japanese company behind the messaging app of the same name, launched a raft of new services, as its CEO said that growing the business is more important than an IPO.
Among the announcements at the event in Tokyo was LINE Pay, which enables users to make purchases via mobile or PC, using either credit card or prepaid card. It also allows them to split the purchase of goods among LINE friends, by using a Share Payment feature, and to transfer money to friends via the Send Money tool.
The service will be accessed through the LINE app and will initially be launched in Japan towards the end of the year.
The firm’s payments plans are similar to those announced by another mobile messaging app, Kakao, earlier this year.
Also announced was LINE Taxi, which gives users the ability to book cab rides via the LINE App and pay for them using LINE Pay. Like Uber and Hailo it uses GPS data to bring taxis to the correct location. Again, it will debut in Tokyo, with expansion across Japan planned.
The establishment of on-demand e-commerce company LINE WOW, in partnership with South Korean food delivery app maker Woowa Brothers, was also announced. The new company plans to launch the LINE WOW food delivery service in Tokyo this autumn.
Jun Masuda, CSMO of LINE Corp, said there are plans to couple WOW with the new LINE Pay service.
Also unveiled was LINE Maps for Indoor, which specialises in navigating users through commercial buildings. Users can select a certain shop in a shopping mall for example, and the service will navigate them to the location.
In addition, LINE formed a new company with Avex Digital and Sony Music Entertainment, with the goal of creating a new subscription-based music streaming service.
Game-related announcements included a partnership with games maker GREE, to establish a joint venture called Epic Voyage, and the naming of Translimit as the first recipient of funds from the LINE Game Global Gateway, which aims to boost Japanese gaming content on the LINE platform.
Speaking at the conference, Akira Morikawa, LINE Corp CEO, suggested that growth was his company’s main priority, rather than an IPO. Company filings had suggested the company was considering IPOs in Japan and the US.
“Rather than listing, it’s important to grow our current business. For now, we want to challenge new things, and eventually consider an IPO,” he said, according to Reuters.
LINE said it now has 560 million registered users globally, with 170 million monthly active users. LINE generated JPY18.2 billion ($169 million) in revenue for the second quarter, a 146 per cent increase on a year earlier.
Until now it has mainly generated revenue from the sale of stickers along with mobile games and business services. It has also developed an e-commerce app called LINE Mall, which is considered to have the potential to generate significant revenue in the future.