Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信), the nation’s third-largest telecoms operator, yesterday said it was seeking to team up with NHN Japan Corp to insert advertisements into the Japanese firm’s fast-growing mobile chat application Line.
Far EasTone president Yvonne Li (李彬) said the company has been in talks with NHN Japan since last year to discuss feasible business models, such as embedding value-added mobile services into Line’s social networking platform.
The move follows the company’s belief that “mobile advertisement is likely to become one of the major sources of carriers’ revenue in the next stage,” she said on the sidelines of a product launch event in Taipei for Samsung Electronics Co’s new Galaxy Premier smartphone.
“We have talked about various possibilities with them [NHN Japan], but business negotiations such as this take time,” Li said.
For this year, Li said Far EasTone plans to double the number of users of its value-added mobile services from last year, including its app store, electronic bookstore, online music and movie streaming.
The company also expects to boost its data service revenue, from 37 percent of its total revenue last year to more than 40 percent this year, Li said.
The Line app, which allows users to enjoy free calls and send manga-themed emoticons to one another, reached the 50-million user mark in just 399 days. It took Twitter 1,096 days and Facebook 1,325 days to attain that milestone.
Since its launch in June 2011, Line has gained 83 million users in 230 countries and the number is estimated to exceed 100 million this month, according to South Korea-based NHN Corp, the parent company of NHN Japan.
Kang Hyun-bin, head of the Line business office in South Korea, said on Tuesday last week that the app has more than 10 million users in Taiwan. NHN might open a branch office in Taiwan to seek more business opportunities, Kang said.
NHN Japan partnered last year with another Taiwanese mobile carrier, Vibo Telecom Inc (威寶電信), and the Taiwan FamilyMart Co (全家便利) convenience store chain on promotions, which included a television commercial.