Line Corp to expand office, create more localized content

Staff writer, with CNA

Sat, Nov 30, 2013 - Page 5

Line Corp, creator of social messaging app Line, has said it will recruit more Taiwanese staff to create localized “stickers” and mobile content. Kang Hyun-bin, head of the Japanese firm’s business development division, said its Taiwan branch plans to hire for marketing, sales, information technology and design. Taiwan is Line’s third-largest market with over 17 million registered users. Only Japan and Thailand have more.

Line’s growth has been partly driven by the service’s oversized emoticons, or stickers. According to Kang, more than 7 billion messages and 1 billion stickers are sent every day, though figures for Taiwan were not available.

“Given that we have a huge number of users in Taiwan, we are planning an expansion of our office to improve the user experience and prepare for the launch of new services,” Kang said.

“The new services are expected to be released from the first half of next year,” he said at a signing ceremony on Tuesday for a strategic alliance with Chunghwa Telecom Co.

Chunghwa Telecom is offering a year of free data usage for its mPro data service subscribers who use Line to make calls and send text messages, stickers, photos, videos and audio clips.

Statistics provided by Informa Telecoms and Media show 19.1 billion over-the-top (OTT) messages were sent every day last year via mobile apps such as Line. This number is expected to reach 41 billion by the end of this year.

OTT refers to delivery of video and audio over the Internet without a multiple system operator being involved in the control or distribution of the content. The provider may be aware of the contents of the Internet protocol packets but is not responsible for, nor able to control, the viewing abilities, copyright and/or other redistribution of the content.

“We have taken a big step toward building a new business model in the mobile market by collaborating with an OTT service provider for the first time in Taiwan,” said Lin Kuo-feng (林國豐), president of Chunghwa Telecom’s mobile business group.