Internet services company NHN is to extend its LINE voice and messaging app, with the intention of using it as “a platform integrating additional apps and services.”

Called LINE Channel, the company intends to create a “new ecosystem for smartphone-related services” by offering users content and services from external partners, with the first launches scheduled imminently.

It will support HTML5 apps which can operate within the native LINE client, and native apps for Android or iOS which can be linked to the LINE service.

NHN said that although its self-developed apps will be released first, it has “made it clear that it plans to increase the availability of apps developed by external business partners by opening its API and offering developers access to LINE's functions including friends lists, messaging and payment.”

Among the options available to partners will be support for the LINE Coin virtual currency.

The company will extend LINE Channel to Android and iOS users, with a Windows Phone version also planned for the near future.
It will initially focus on the Japanese market, before “gradually increasing these services overseas.”

Separately, the company said it will add new “home” and “timeline” features to LINE, to add a social networking element to the calling and messaging app (pictured).

NHN said that since its launch in June 2011, LINE has been used in more than 230 countries worldwide, and within around a year of availability, the total number of registered users had exceeded 45 million – with 20 million in Japan.