The continuing success of so-called ‘Over-The-Top’ (OTT) messaging apps was further emphasised as LINE passed 280 million users during its third quarter and reported a 48 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase in revenue.
LINE Corporation recorded JPY19.1 billion ($194.5 million) in revenue during the July-to-September period, with the LINE messaging app itself generating JPY9.9 billion.
The company now claims 280 million users and “the largest market share among messaging apps in Japan, Thailand and Taiwan.” It saw strong performance in India, where it passed 10 million users following a number of marketing initiatives, and increased user numbers in Central and South America, Turkey and Italy. Further global growth is planned.
LINE Corporation CEO Akira Morikawa is confident the company can “easily” reach 300 million users for its messaging app by the end of the year.
The increase in net sales within the LINE business was attributed to in-game purchases, which accounted for 60 per cent of revenue, and sticker purchases, which made up around 20 per cent of revenue. Official accounts and sponsored stickers also had an impact.
Morikawa said new advertising services such as LINE Free Coins have seen a “favourable response”, giving “a good balance in growth between user purchases and advertising revenue”.
No profit (or more likely, loss) figures were announced. Morikawa added that LINE is “still in the investment phase, and at the moment our focus is not on profits, but rather it is on improving our unique products to give the best possible service for our current customers, while investing in creating new services, developing new features, and pursuing marketing opportunities to expand our user base.”
It was reported in October that LINE parent, South Korea’s Naver Corp, was planning to list the messaging app business in the Tokyo Stock Exchange next summer. The proceeds are expected to go towards advertising efforts and developing new apps.