NHN Line Looking to Boost Local Partnerships to Grow in Indonesia
On Wednesday night, NHN, the South Korean company behind popular messaging app Line, held a media gathering in Jakarta, inviting bloggers, journalists, and partners. Line recently announced that it has reached 100 million users globally since it was launched in June 2011. That fact, combined with Line’s rapid adoption and growth in Indonesia, drove the company to find out more about the country.
Line offers free text messaging, voice calls, audio and video messages, and while the app includes the standard fare of emoticons, it also has what it calls stickers which are made up of Line’s four primary characters showing a wide range of emotions and expressions, mostly with humorous effects. Its main attraction over other messaging apps is perhaps the sticker collection of goofy looking characters which seem to have captured the attention and adoration of Line’s users. There are more than 1400 stickers with varying availabilities in different markets.
The characters are so popular that NHN ended up selling all sorts of Line merchandise in its NHN Store in South Korea and may consider opening more in other countries including Indonesia if the demand is strong enough. Fans of the characters would scour many online shops to get a hold of the dolls, figures, actual stickers, and other Line merchandise and are willing to pay extra to get them delivered.
At the event, Jinny Kim, who handles NHN’s global Line business, spoke at length about the app’s history, growth, adoption, and revealing the partnerships that Line has entered into in Indonesia over the past year.
Line has partnerships with local film magazine Cinemags, actress and singer Bunga Citra Lestari, singer Afgansyah Reza, and the band Pee Wee Gaskins to deliver local content through updates, stickers, events, games, competitions, and other activities. Line also has a partnership with Telkomsel which provides unmetered use of Line’s messaging service and its own range of stickers for Line users who are also Telkomsel subscribers.
Kim said that Line users in Indonesia have grown three times in numbers over the past three months but declined to disclose the figures. Line is widely considered more popular in Indonesia than its Asian rivals KakaoTalk and WeChat although none of them are willing to disclose their local figures either. Globally however, WeChat is far more popular. With more local partners and local content, Line is aiming to grow even faster with a possibility to expand its business in the country.
Line’s growth has been very rapid. Launched in June 2011, it had 11 million members by the end of that year, and reached 100 million 19 months later. As Bloomberg noted, Facebook took 54 months to reach that number while Twitter took 49. Back in December of last year, Line exceeded 10 million downloads in Thailand, closely threatening Facebook as the most popular social network in the country.
Line’s messaging apps and games are available on most major smartphone platforms.
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