LINE has now “prioritized” the U.S. market
Now, as it nears the 500 million registered user mark (most of which are in Asia) and a rumored IPO, we’re beginning to see a lot of that plan take hold. LINE senior business development manager John Park tells TNW that the company has now “prioritized” the U.S. market.
“America is very challenging, different and exciting for us,” said the executive. “Technically it is one single market, but there are so many different demographics and ethnicities, that it is almost several markets in one.”
“America is very challenging, different and exciting for us”
How does LINE plan to tackle the market? With a focus on gaming as well as a push in mainstream media — TV commercials, brand endorsements via Official Accounts, as well as strategies similar to what we saw with the Critcs’ Choice Awards last month. Park hinted at a “US-centered game coming soon” and plans on courting publishers in the market to bring games to the LINE platform. Park also promises “new gaming formats and titles that resonate with mobile users” which means plenty of enjoyment for the casual audience.
We’ve already seen some of these types with the recent worldwide launch of Disney’s Tsum Tsum and many other casual games on the platform like LINE RunRun Hero, but these games weren’t directly targeted toward the U.S. audience. Other apps have also been introduced such as LINE Camera that take advantage of the app’s social features, and that’s to say nothing of new Creators Market stickers, many of which could be appealing to the U.S. audience, and the company’s “selfie” sticker app launched last month.
Competing in a very competitive North American market
LINE currently has 470 million registered users worldwide, but doesn’t provide active user counts. 10 million of these users are in the U.S. Meanwhile, WeChat has 396 million active users (mostly in Asia) and WhatsApp has over 500 million, among many others, but with the right marketing and the right content, it goes without saying that LINE could differentiate itself in the U.S. market and become a rather large contender there. It awaits to be seen just how big it can be when faced against so much competition in the region.