Messaging apps are gradually heating up in the country. With existing players like WhatsApp and Hike holding the larger share of the market, the popular Japanese mobile messaging app Line has recently made its entry in the Indian market. The app backed by Line Corp, a unit of South Korea’s biggest Internet search provider NHN Corp, has announced that it has grabbed 5 million Indian users in a matter of three weeks.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Jun Masuda, Line’s chief strategy and marketing officer revealed the latest numbers of Line India. Jun also shared that since India is one of the largest mobile phone markets, the decision was intuitive. He also stressed the fact that till now the company has been pretty much successful and opening an India office is on the cards.
The numbers can raise some eyebrows but Line is boasting that the library of cute, funny and silly stickers to be shared free of cost, is one of the reasons. The app is now eyeing for more and wishes to have 10 million users in a few months. It also plans to introduce Bollywood stickers and localized content, initially in Hindi and Tamil. The messaging app that has focused on social games is also developing games in Indian languages.
Line was launched in June 2011 globally and today the app has more than 200 million downloads. The hockey stick growth of the app has been possible for two major reasons – 1. Adding up new features and 2. Good spend on marketing initiatives.
On its launch in India, the app had launched two TVC’s targeting the youth of the country. One of the TVC promoted the free voice chat feature of the app and the other TVC focused on Stickers or rich emoticons communication. But what was really interesting to see was that the app didn’t endorse any celebrities like it had done in Spain and is trying to do the same in US.
The fresh numbers could boost the confidence of Line but it has a stiff competition from WhatsApp, which leads in the country without any marketing spends followed by Hike. The Indian messaging app from Bharti SoftBank, Hike has more than five million users and had recently announced that it has added some exciting features such as a set of new Stickers.
Then there is WeChat which has also been investing a lot in India in recent months. The mobile messaging service that has more than 300M users out of which 50M are global users, had integrated with recent Bollywood movies and endorsed latest Bollywood stars Parineeti Chopra and Varun Dhawan.
After proving its dominance in Japan, Line has been constantly testing international waters. It would be interesting to see how it grows in India.