How Line Competes With Other Chat Apps Globally

Line, the most popular messaging app in Japan (also known for its cute animated stickers), was valued at almost $7 billion at the initial public offering on July 11. Since the company’s first announcement in June 2016, experts and the media have scrutinized Line’s potential to scale beyond its four stronghold markets in Asia. The app, owned by South Korean online portal Naver, has been often compared to Facebook and WeChat. We used 7Park Data’s global multi-million user panel to prepare a snapshot of Line’s monthly active users (MAUs) across different regions in the world in June 2016. To get a better idea of how Line competes with other messaging apps, we also included MAUs of the most-used chat app in each of those regions.

Looking at the snapshot below, we see that Line’s major competitors are Tencent’s WeChat in China and Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger everywhere else. Important to point out that so far Line has focused most of its energies on the app’s four core markets — Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Thailand. But, as the app faces growing competition from different messaging apps in these countries, it may be time for Line to think and act more globally.

Chart showing the monthly active users of various chat apps in countries around the world.

Although Line’s active user growth demonstrates the profile of a mature app, Line has been successful in cultivating its existing fan base. Line users have been checking into the app more often and spending increasingly more time in the app. This is the case in both Line’s main markets and in a few other regions around the world. In Japan, Line’s minutes per active user grew by 18% in Q1 2016 versus Q1 2015 and sessions per user grew by 6% over the same time period. Although Line had -12.1% growth in MAUs in the United States in Q1 2016 versus Q1 2015, the app had 18% growth in sessions per active user and 35% growth in minutes per active user in the country.

Line’s impressive IPO put the company in the spotlight on the global stage. Now we’ll have to see how Line competes as a global player.

Want to learn more about Line’s user behavior in different countries and regions? Request 7Park Data’s App Intelligence Dashboard demo and start exploring right the way.