Signs that LINE Messenger can top Facebook in Thailand

Can LINE replace Facebook as Thailand’s premier messaging app? Certainly, according to guest writer Lily Sommers

By Lily Sommers

Image courtesy of Vista Cheng via Flickr

Image courtesy of Vista Cheng via Flickr

When it comes to social media adoption, Thailand is one of the most active markets across the globe. The 2013 forecast from the Thailand’s Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) revealed about 90% of the entire web users in the country are active social media users. In addition to that Bangkok City itself was hailed by the Wall Street Journal as the Facebook capital city of the world with a 92.2% market share are Facebook users, while YouTube has 63.7% share, and surprisingly, the Japan-based LINE Messenger has a user base of 61.1%.

With its tons of features to offer (such as a Timeline View on its user interface, Voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) conversations, and the ability to add friends/groups), LINE has now become an impressive social media platform. Experts even predict that with the chatting messenger’s continuous patronage coming from its dedicated Thai users, it might soon exceed Facebook’s strong hold on the country’s local market share. For this entry, we’ll give you the signs and indicators that the Japan’s chat messaging app could be taking over FB in Thailand.

Also Read: Japanese chat app LINE surpasses 400 million users on all platforms

More resources for its growing market share
As featured in Mac Thai, LINE has recently opened its very own headquarters in the heart of Bangkok on Sathorn road last March. It is the company’s fourth office after Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. As you may know, the closest Facebook office in the country is situated in Singapore. Why does it matter? With LINE’s close proximity to the Thai market, it encompasses a huge potential for domination:

  • LINE employees and developers can finally gather more relevant data on the market by effortlessly conducting a market survey to determine what kind of services they need to offer in their future updates/releases.
  • They can also analyze sample demographics when testing how their users would react to the pricing scheme of their in-app purchases.
  • They can deliver a more tailored, customized, and localized experience as an end result.

Catching up in terms of user base
The popular messaging app platform is one of the fastest growing mobile applications on the global market, with almost 390 million users to date, with Japan and Thailand, taking the lead. Facebook and LINE share a very close user base in terms of numbers in the Thai market. Facebook has a roughly 26 million monthly active users, while LINE has 24 million monthly active users since January 2014, according to Tech In Asia. It is only a matter of time before it can outgrow FB in terms of user base.

Also Read: Thailand telco TrueMove H attracts 9.4 mln LINE friends

Has an eccentric Asian feel over FB
The application is indeed poised to dominate the Thai market in the near future. Although on a global basis, Facebook is still number 1 for young adults, Lets Get Wise shared on their Twitter post last May. The tweet linked to a PR Moment post showing a Mashable-created infographic showing that 84% of young adults in America aged 18-29 have a Facebook account, followed by Google+ with 44%, then Twitter with 40%.
Popular Thai culture website Tasty Thailand said that LINE is so popular in the country because of its cute design and stickers on offer, apart from the text-only interface offered by the FB Messenger App.

The article added that the messaging app offers a more quirky and eccentric Asian feel. Most westerners who use free mobile VoIP applications tend to use a more formal Skype or What’s App applications that does not offer funny blinking texts and cartoon characters. Another reason why LINE is a boom in this region is because LINE is made by Japanese. “Thais are obsessed with anything Japanese – food, clothes, music, make-up, hair products, manga and anime — and now LINE,” the Tasty Thailand added.

Social e-commerce is huge in Thailand
In a similar blog posted by Saiyai Sakawee of Tech In Asia, the year 2013 was a year of booming social e-commerce in the Thai market. When it comes to the mobile commerce sector, LINE is considered as the King of all the social media platforms. Big brands and online stores such as Rakuten and Tarad are actively leveraging the messaging app to disseminate online sales and promos to its 24 million user base on a regular basis.

Also Read: Is Thailand a hotbed for m-commerce? LINE’s flash sales data says yes

These are the indicators that LINE Messenger will definitely surpass Facebook on the Thai market. That said, Facebook can still up the ante by offering a more localized experience and eccentric Asian features that the market would surely appreciate. Are you a LINE user? What do you link most about the app?

The views expressed are of the author, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them.

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