NEW DELHI, INDIA: Instant messaging and free calling app LINE that has crossed a user base of 5 million in India in just three weeks, sees India as a strategic market for global expansion. The Tokyo, Japan-headquartered company will also go for localized content, including Hindi and Tamil, as well as Bollywood stickers.
LINE Corp.'s chief strategy and marketing officer, Jun Masuda, said that LINE has more than 200 million app users in 230 countries, with the largest shares in Japan, Taiwan and Thailand, respectively, surpassing arch rivals WhatsApp and WeChat. "As of July 18, 2013, 100 million apps were downloaded on Google Play," he said.
Masuda said that since mobile devices are becoming gateway on the Internet today, they have built the LINE platform for such devices. "We have developed it for iOS, Android and feature-rich phones," he added. The communication is closed and private, and is restricted to friends, family and acquaintances.
The app features more than 8,000 stickers. The LINE family apps include: LINE camera, LINE card, LINE Brush and LINE Play. It has an aggressive revenue model in place that includes paid stickers, game-in app purchase and sponsored stickers for official brands. The app allows companies to directly interact with consumers. Sony India is unveiling online campaign with LINE soon.
"India is strategic market for worldwide expansion as there is increased adoption of Smartphones in the country," Masuda said. He added that with new office in India, they are hiring people and looking at partners for creating localized content and games. "We are aiming to cross 10 million users in few months."
The company has tied with Nokia for pre-installation of LINE in the Nokia Asha series. It is in discussions with other device vendors. LINE has plans to offer content in Hindi and Tamil languages in India.