Japanese Messaging App Line Officially Launches In India

The mobile messaging space in India is already crowded. Joining that already fragmented mix is Line, a Japanese cross-platform messaging app which has been seeing some rapid growth in the South East Asian space. Line Corporation, the company behind the app announced their official entry into India today and the launch of their brand marketing campaign on Television and other media spaces. Its Chinese competitor, WeChat has already taken steps towards that direction since last month.

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Line is available across all the popular mobile and desktop platforms such as iOS, Android, Nokia Asha, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Windows and Mac. It is similar to WeChat in terms of most of the features. It has free calls, voice chat, sticker chat in addition to normal IM capabilities.

Line was released 2 years ago and has amassed 180 million users since then. These users access it from around 230 countries. The app is most popular in its country of origin, Japan with 45 million users and has also gained traction in Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia. The company says that it is also seeing growth in countries like Mexico, Spain and Argentina.

Here are the two TV commercials that the company has released in India.

Asian apps like Line and WeChat  breaking into India is a little weird to understand because they are made for a fundamentally different culture which communicates via expressive stickers and characters while Indian messaging usage habits involve much text. It is possible that the way Indians use messaging apps will change and adapt to this style of messaging. The emoji based stickers have also inspired Facebook to do something similar in its messenger app. Not sure if that was because it needed traction in Asia or the sticker chat thing is getting huge in general.

I am actually looking forward to a messaging app which is uniquely Indian and has some Indian context to all these stickers and features. Hike from BSB seems to be the only one in the running right now. The app has most of the features that these International messaging apps provide  and is growing in terms of userbase. Mobile messaging as a market seems to be crazily fragmented right now. There is the usual trilogy of Hangouts(formerly Google Talk), Whatsapp and Facebook messenger that many people on Android and iOS use. Additional apps include Nimbuzz, WeChat, BBM, Skype, Hike and now Line. All of them are their own messaging silos and this is a problem because you will have to install them all to communicate  with different friends and contacts which use them.

Which app do you use? Share your answers with us.

App Link | Line 

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