Japanese messaging app LINE has had a good 2013. In the recent App Annie Index: 2013 Retrospective report, LINE was ranked first in the world in terms of iOS and Google Play revenue (excluding games). The report also gives a breakdown by country, showing that LINE is the top messaging app by revenue in Southeast Asia and Japan.
Now, LINE has released its financial report for the year of 2013, and the numbers reflect the facts in App Annie’s report perfectly.
Total sales for LINE in 2013 was JPY 34.3 billion (US$336M). In the 4th quarter of 2013, LINE’s earnings reached JPY 12.2 billion (US$120M), an increase of 20 per cent over Q3, and a whopping 450 per cent increase compared to the Q4 2012. This follows a steady trend of increasing earnings for 2013, which can be seen in the chart below.
This increase in earnings has no doubt contributed to parent company LINE Corp’s bottom line, with its revenue for Q4 2013 reaching JPY 15.9 billion (US$156M), an increase of 16.8 per cent compared to Q4 2012. LINE Corp’s total sales for 2013 was JPY 51.8 billion (US$508M).
LINE reports that 60 per cent of its earnings came from games, with sticker sales accounting for around 20 per cent and the rest made up by advertisements. According to LINE, it has co-operated with companies in Finland and France to develop its games, increasing repository to 51 games in total. The company also mentioned that it is strengthening promotion for LINE games in Taiwan and Thailand.
For 2013, LINE has introduced many unique stickers in its shop for different markets. Such localised stickers include representations of popular Mexican football players, as well as those representing the Indian festival of Diwali. LINE’s efforts in localisation are aimed at goal of popularising the culture of communication through stickers. As of now, there are over 350 famous characters represented in its sticker shop.
Lastly, LINE reports the growth of its sponsored stickers as an advertising platform, marketing lifestyle products to LINE’s users throughout the world. The same goes for the recent Free Coins feature that was launched in seven Asian countries (Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Hong Kong).
With a current user base of 340,000,000, LINE is certainly on track to hit its goal of half a billion users by the end of 2014. To do so, Morikawa Akira, President of LINE Corp, reaffirmed the need for user feedback and partnerships, “We need to continue our pace, focusing on the global market and introducing new services and functions based on users’ needs. Also, we will be stepping up our localisation efforts, working hard to co-operate with local companies on marketing.”