International chat app Originally developed in Japan in the wake of the Tōhoku earthquake in March 2011, LINE app was created as an online messaging alternative that did not have to rely on Japan’s then-damaged telecommunications structure. The app was released to the public in 2011 and reached 100 million users only 18 months after its initial release.
Apart from over-the-top messaging, LINE also offers free voice calls similar to Skype and thus provides an attractive alternative to paid mobile operating services. Furthermore, the app has also integrated social features such as timelines where users can post status messages to contacts. Aside from social networking features, LINE has also released a camera app and a gaming platform, LINE game. The in-app store of LINE enables users to purchase stickers that can be used similarly to emoji in chat discussions or to decorate photographs. LINE’s unique features are particularly popular in its home market Japan and other Asian countries. The company’s aggressive local marketing strategies, such as television commercials in Indonesia or flash sales in Thailand, ensure its continuous dominance of the Asian market.