Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in touch via Twitter or Google+.
Stickers have been all the rage on messaging services for some time — and now Japanese chat app Line is taking the sticker craze to a new level by letting all of its 360 million registered users sell their original stickers on its Web store.
The Line Creators Market, a brand new platform launched today, will only start accepting submissions from April onwards. It is free for all users to register on the Line Creators Market. Creators can sell sets of 40 stickers at 100 yen (about $1) per set once the graphics are approved by Line, and they will receive 50 percent of the proceeds.
Other than engaging its users further and adding another revenue stream, another impetus for the sticker market is global expansion. In a press statement, the company says it “looks forward to accelerating Line’s global expansion with the further localization of stickers through this effort.”
Line previously noted in an earnings report that rolling out stickers is the first step it takes to introduce itself in new markets. The chat app brought in 34.3 billion yen ($338 million) of revenue for its parent company throughout the whole year of 2013, mainly due to in-game purchases — which made up about 60 percent of revenue. That’s followed by sticker purchases, which accounted for 20 percent of revenue.
Engadget also reports that Line announced a new data-based call service today, due to launch next month in Japan, US, Mexico, Spain, Thailand and the Philippines. This service, which will let Line users call people who don’t use the chat app, is essentially taking on Skype, with prices lower than those offered on landlines and mobile carriers.
UPDATE: Line has released more details of its call service designed to enable users to “make low-cost calls to landlines and mobile phones domestically and internationally.” Any Line user can start using the service immediately without having to go through a setup process. If the user’s mobile device is registered in any of the regions that Line is first launching this service in, they will be able to make calls to landlines and mobile devices anywhere in the world.
Furthermore, Line is planning to offer a new service called ‘Business Connect’ — which provides Line’s official accounts API to corporate customers. This means that corporate users can now send targeted, optimized messages tailored to their purposes, instead of just a one-way distribution of messages.
Line goes way beyond a basic messaging app. It has long offered voice/video chat, Vine-like short video capture, stickers and more. Aside from those chat features, it also provides a games platform, an opt-in to get messages from brands, and is dabbling in e-commerce. The latest announcements make it clear that Line is well on its way to evolving into a social platform.
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