Mobile messaging service LINE opens new office in Taiwan to help grow its international userbase

Mobile messaging service LINE opens new office in Taiwan to help grow its international userbase

LINE, a cross-platform mobile messaging app with more than 160 million registered users, is doubling its efforts in Taiwan by opening a new office and kicking off a fresh recruitment drive in the region.

Cindy Park, Manager of LINE Business Office, was quoted at a promotional event in Taipei by Focus Taiwan: “We have come here to tell Taiwanese users…that we will do our best to meet all users’ needs.”

LINE will be hiring 30 additional employees to work from the new branch, joining over 400 staff already working for the company worldwide.

The expansion should come as no surprise, given that the app passed 16 million users in Taiwan last month. It’s worth noting that the country’s population is estimated at 23.31 million – according to Google as of 2012, anyway – which suggests significant market penetration.

There’s no shortage of mobile messaging apps vying for users’ attention and loyalty though. Skype, WhatsApp and Viber, alongside Facebook Messenger and the newly unveiled Google Hangouts are but a few of the services prevalent in North America and Europe at the moment.

Asia is another market entirely, however, and a lucrative one where LINE continues to grow. The company, headquartered in Japan, announced last month that it had hit 23 million downloads for its portfolio of apps in Indonesia, which include Line messenger, Line Games and Line Camera, among others. The service is now available in 230 countries worldwide.

It faces stiff competition from cross-platform messaging services WeChat and Kakao Talk, which boast a userbase of over 300 million and 90 million respectively. The latter recently launched KakaoHome, a new Android app that shares some resemblance with Facebook Home and crossed the one million download mark just 13 days after launch.

A presentation given to potential customers in Taiwan – and leaked earlier this week – revealed LINE’s new monetization strategies and a renewed push to maximize its revenue streams. Part of this involves official accounts, which companies can use to connect with other users, as well as corporate sticker accounts. Yes, stickers.

The expansion follows pretty impressive financial results for the first quarter of 2013; Line reported revenues of 5.82 billion yen ($58 million USD), up 92 percent from the previous quarter. At least $17 million of that came from stickers alone, so perhaps its new corporate strategy is a smart one after all.

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