Line posted a profit in the first quarter of 2017, with net income of JPY1.63 billion ($14.6 million) compared with a loss of JPY234 million in Q1 2016, mainly due to an increase in advertising sales.

The results are similiar to Q4 2016 when Line swung into the black on strong growth in advertising, which increased more than 50 per cent.

In an earnings statement, Line said: “A strong performance from New Year’s card stickers that include a gift, which was carried out from the end of 2016 to beginning of 2017, contributed to increased revenues,” during the opening quarter.

The same couldn’t be said for games which “provided only a limited contribution” to sales due to fewer new title releases.

Adverts on its messaging platform continued to grow, and there was a significant increase of performance advertising – a form of advertising in which the purchaser pays only when there are measurable results, which Line launched in June 2016.

Line also announced monthly active users in the four key markets in which it operates (Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia) stood at 170 million by end Q1, a year-on-year increase of 12.6 per cent.

The company last week said its Japan-only news service exceeded 59 million monthly active users as of March 2017, an increase of 13 million since December 2016

While Line expects increased operating expenses following an expansion of services, marketing activities and investments in its artificial intelligence initiative Clova, the group said it expects to continue its positive operating income trend through the second quarter.