Japanese messaging company LINE posted impressive revenue and user numbers.
In a release it says revenue from the core LINE operations was 14.6 billion yen, or $US143 million. It also says it has 420 million users now.
For comparison, WhatsApp, which Facebook valued at $US19 billion, has 500 million active monthly users. There is no disclosed revenue for WhatsApp, but analysts at Sterne Agee estimated it at $US20 million.
How does LINE make money? Here’s an explanation from its release:
The game business has seen its own success. Popular titles like LINE Pokopang remained strong and new titles released in 2014 like LINE Cookie Run, LINE Rangers, and LINE Disney Tsum Tsum turned out to be great hits, leading to increases in both player numbers and sales. Existing games have also grown to support more languages, including Thai and Traditional Chinese, further contributing to foreign player numbers and sales. Support for more languages will be added based on local characteristics in the future.
The sticker business further expanded its earnings this quarter by partnering with popular cartoon characters and well-known illustrators and designers from around the world to provide highly localised sticker sets tailored to the tastes of individual markets. This was especially effective in Italy and France, where stickers starring popular local characters contributed to an increase in LINE users in the regions. The Sticker Shop currently contains stickers featuring over 500 famous characters with plans for further expansion in the future.
The advertising business saw an increase in the number of companies using its official account and sponsored stickers features in countries across the globe. The use of LINE Must-Buy stickers, a feature that allows users who purchase a certain product to download a special set of stickers, also increased this quarter. LINE Free Coins expanded to a total of eight countries and regions＊2, and the incentive service is making significant strides to further establish its presence as a marketing platform.
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