David Corbin (@CorbinDB) from Tech in Asia joins us for a deep dive discussion on one of the most exciting messaging apps in Asia: LINE. We discuss the origins of LINE, analyse how LINE has successfully build up different revenue streams and grow users in a rapid rate and predict when the company will go IPO. We also discuss how LINE has operated as a transaction engine in the form of a mobile app and how their competitive advantages in building strategic partnerships and funding companies as a corporate venture arm have made them a formidable rival in Asia against the other messaging apps: WeChat, Kakao-Talk and Whatsapp.
Here are the interesting show notes and links for our discussion:
- The story of David Corbin in Japan and his subsequent path to join Tech In Asia and cover the startup and investor landscape in Japan
- Discussion on LINE
- What is the LINE mobile app? How was the app started originally? How did it become a popular app in Japan?
- What are the number of active users in LINE as compared to WeChat and Whatsapp?
- What is the revenue model for LINE? An interesting note: Line generated revenue of $323 million from games, sales of virtual stickers and advertising, about 16 times the estimated revenue of WhatsApp (sold at 19B to Facebook).
- Who are the mysterious founders of LINE? How did they emerge as a startup within a big corporation (Naver, a search engine in Korea) and then went independent?
- Which mobile platforms does LINE operate on?
- What are the interesting features of the app and what trends has it started (stickers, emojis)? How does LINE help brands and small businesses to interact with users?
- How did LINE successfully expand out of Japan? An interesting part of the LINE company culture is that they believe in localisation for the users in that market they expand to. The other under-stated fact is that LINE is extremely good in working out strategic partnerships with brands from all over the world.
- What is the current focus of LINE?
- The 100 million dollar question: Will LINE go IPO?
- Japanese startup scene: some recent interesting ones: