Japan’s Line Corporation (whose chat app recently hit the 150 million users milestone) disclosed its latest sales figures, showing first-quarter revenue of JPY 5.8 billion (or over US$57 million). That’s up 92 percent compared to the same quarter in the previous year.
Line’s sales consists of games, stamps, official accounts, and sponsored stamps. Games amount for about half of its sales, while its stamps business accounts for about 30 percent. The mobile chat app is now a sort of a global phenomenon, having expanded to places like Thailand, Taiwan, Spain, and Indonesia. But it’s interesting to see that the majority of its sales, about 80 percent, come from its home market in Japan.
Micro-payments for digital contents are not new to Japanese people, going back even to the days of feature phones. We have always paid for music, ringtones, e-books, games, and dedicated carrier-dependent servies such as i-mode. Whether we’re using a feature phone or a smartphone, small and frequent purchases tend to hit your wallet hard.
On a related note, there is great article over on Pando Daily from Tom Limongello titled The Japanese Art of Monetization where he explains that Japan’s mobile space has always been monetized. It’s very much worth a read if you have a moment to spare.
Line Camera, one of Line’s 24 apps, is also doing very well, having accumulated 30 million downloads worldwide as of the end of April. The popular photo app launched its own stamp shop on April 2nd, helping reach the top of sales charts in Google Play’s photo category in 45 countries. On the iOS app store, it managed to grab the top spot in the photo category in 12 different countries.