LINE in Japan and abroad
The messaging app LINE was developed by NHN Japan, a subsidiary of South Korean search engine provider Naver, as a response to the earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan in March 2011. The service launched in June of the same year. With phone lines being disrupted, people turned to LINE as a way to communicate with their families and friends. From the beginning, LINE enjoyed high popularity, gaining 50 million users in less than a year. It also quickly entered other markets, such as China in 2012 and India in 2013. While LINE eventually became blocked in China in 2014, it was overtaken in India by its competitor WhatsApp. While LINE does not come close to the world’s leading social networks in terms of active users, it belongs among the most popular Asia-based mobile messenger apps, next to services like WeChat and KakaoTalk. Aside from Japan, where the app recorded a very high number of monthly active users, LINE’s most important markets are Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Diversification of operations
As the app grew more successful, NHN Japan eventually changed its name to LINE Corporation in 2013. The company expanded its portfolio over the years, which came to include products such as mobile games, a camera app, and the digital wallet LINE Pay, which managed to increase its number of global active users over the years. As a breakdown of LINE Corporation’s business segments shows, more than half of the company's revenues in 2019 were generated via advertising. While the company's total revenue figures continuously increased in the recent years, its annual profits showed strong fluctuations.