Watch out WeChat! Japan’s Line becomes the top social app in China



Japanese chat application Line pulled off a pretty impressive feat this week, achieving the top spot in Apple’s Chinese App Store in the social networking category on April 8.

This is especially interesting because so far in Asia, each of the big chat app players Line (Japan), Kakaotalk (Korea), and Weixin/WeChat (China) have each dominated on their home turf. For Line to become the top social networking app in China, having only launched back on December 12, is a significant achievement.

According to a China Daily report, it was helped along initially by being introduced via Qihoo 360’s Mobile Assistant. After becoming the top social app on Monday, it has since dropped to number two. But the app is still rising in the overall ‘free app’ rankings (currently ranked 7th), and I wouldn’t be surprised if it reaches number one overall in the next few days.

Photo: China Daily

Line is branded as ‘Lian wo ’ or ‘Link Me’ in China, with apps available on iOS, Android, and PC. Given the fact that some individuals in China can be hostile towards Japanese brands, it’s encouraging to see a made-in-Japan service getting some love in the country. Weixin is, of course, still China’s dominant chat app in terms of overall downloads.

On a related note, Korea’s Kakaotalk has recently made a little progress in Japan, announcing last week that it has surpassed the 10 million downloads milestone, although it’s still a distant second to Line’s 45 million.

Weixin, while dominant in China, has a tougher challenge on its hands in achieving success among non-Chinese users.

For more information on the growth of Line, please check out our interactive Line Timeline which chronicles its growth from its launch back in 2011 up until the present day.