The firm behind the mobile messaging application, Line, says they have witnessed 300 percent growth in their user base in Indonesia, and they expect to see even more growth as people increasingly choose to buy smartphones.
Line is a mobile messaging application available in application stores, including BlackBerry World, iTunes and the Android Play Store. The application was developed by the NHN Corporation, a Korean Internet service company that earned US$1.7 billion in revenue last year.
NHN Corp. is also behind Naver, one of the largest search engines in South Korea with 30 million users per day and 1.6 billion daily page views. The number of total registered Line users has reached 80 million.
Kang Hyunbin, head of Line’s business office, said the number of Line users in Indonesia had grown by 300 percent from October to the beginning of December. “We expect to see our user base in Indonesia hit 10 million sometime next year,” he said.
He added that Line already had 10 million users in Thailand, their largest user base in Southeast Asia, and another 35 million users in Japan, making the country their largest user base globally.
He also said that the global user base of the application itself had surged to its current figure within 15 months of its launch and that the company foresaw the number rising to 100 million by the end of the year.
“Our users send 6 million messages every day,” he added.
Cho Simeon, the general manager for Line’s business office, added that the fast growth in smartphone users made Indonesia a valuable market. “There will definitely be 200 million mobile phone users switching from feature phones to smartphones in the next few years,” he said.
A majority of Indonesia’s 250 million population own mobile phones. However, feature phone users still dominate the country’s mobile phone market.
In the third quarter alone, 87.3 percent of the 15.5 million mobile phones shipped to the country were feature phones, according to data provided by the International Data Corporation (IDC).
However, the IDC also showed that smartphone shipments grew by a robust 29 percent between the second and third quarters of this year.
Industry observers point out that the falling prices of smartphones have helped to increase the penetration of these devices.
Kang added that as part of their aim to gain more users in Indonesia, the company planned to increase local content within Line.
Besides functioning as a mobile messenger, Line also enables phone calls to be made over the Internet. Line has also opened official accounts, which businesses, including celebrities, can purchase to send direct messages to other Line users who “follow” them.
To differentiate itself from competing messaging applications, such as WhatsApp, Line has developed virtual stickers that businesses can send to their followers to use as shopping vouchers.