By the end of January, Japan based LINE Messenger, the mobile messaging app backed by Line Corp, a unit of South Korea’s biggest Internet search provider NHN Corp, had appointed Damandeep Singh Soni as its Head of India Business Development. The results have started showing in a month as the messaging app Line has inked an alliance with the daily deals site Groupon India to provide daily deals through an official account ‘Groupon Freebies’ on LINE.
With this new alliance, Groupon will be offering exclusive ‘LINE only’ deals, weekly deals and a ‘Manic Monday’ deal offering freebies to its followers on LINE. However, there has been no disclosure on the deal period or the financial terms of the partnership.
If you have downloaded the Line app, then you can add the ‘Groupon Freebies’ account from the Official Accounts listed under the tab More in the app. Add the account and you would get notifications of some exciting exclusive deals like I was provided a Cafe Coffee deal. Meanwhile, you can check out the Groupon Freebies page to find a list of deals. It would be interesting to see if at some point the deals provided to me are based on my interest or browsing habits.
This is Line’s first business alliance in the country after it entered India in the month of May, 2013. Within three weeks of its existence, the app revealed to have crossed the 5 million mark and later it revealed that the app had crossed 10 million users within its first quarter. Further to it, the app that is in use in 230 countries globally, and is ranked first in the free app category in 60 countries, wished to double its user base by the end of the year but could touch only 15 million registered users in the country.
Messaging apps such as WeChat, Line, etc. globally are trying out various commercial activities and bringing the world to their respective messaging screens. Chinese messaging app from Tencent, WeChat has been the leading messaging app in exploring services like banking, commerce in its country.
In India WeChat recently tied up with Getit Infomedia’s local search engine AskMe to provide location-specific local searches, deals and classifieds through an official account ‘AskMeSearch’ on WeChat. The company had said it will also provide information on trending restaurants and deals of the day, apart from providing classifieds on vehicles, mobiles, properties and jobs.
Earlier another Indian messaging app Nimbuzz that claimed to have 200 million registered users worldwide of which 24 million reside in India, had introduced a new ‘search and share’ feature that lets users exchange videos, movies, restaurants, places, events and other kinds of content without leaving its app. Expectations are that going further Nimbuzz will provide listings to users based on their locations or even on their search pattern.
One97 Communications, the mobile internet firm known for its online recharge services had recently revealed its mobile-only shopping marketplace – Paytm Shopping app where the mobile app comes integrated with a digital wallet for payments. The mobile-only marketplace app has tried to emulate over-the-counter human shopping experience using the Plustxt messenger, which the company had acquired last year under $2 million in a cash-and-equity deal.
The success of the latest move by Line lies on how users respond to it and will it be enough to spike up the downloads. Line and WeChat are trying various kinds of marketing push to spike up the numbers in a country that has been the world’s fastest growing smartphone market in the last quarter of 2013. But will that be enough to provide stiff competition to WhatsApp, the world’s most popular messaging app with more than 430 million active users of which 35 million active users are from India?