Line’s hockey stick moment: Japanese chat app hits 150 million users worldwide



(Read this article in Japanese)

We knew this milestone wasn’t far off after Line Corporation CEO Akira Morikawa noted at the recent Japan New Economy Summit that the Line chat app had 140 million users worldwide. But apparently it became official yesterday that Line has hit the 150 million users milestone.

As you can see in the company’s fun commemorative line graph above [1], Line only hit the 100 million user mark this past January, so they seem to be having their hockey-stick moment right now.

Line Corporations CEO Akira Morikawa echoed these sentiments again at B Dash Camp in Fukuoka
Line Corporations CEO Akira Morikawa

With more than 45 million users in its home market of Japan, Line will likely be limited to a growth rate that is only as fast as domestic smartphone growth. So Line will have to keep up its overseas expansion, which to date has been pretty good. We recently had a chance to hear Line Corporation CEO Akira Morikawa speak about their relatively flexible global strategy, and how he hopes they can operate as a sort of borderless company.

Line has even seen some success in China where it briefly became the top social app in the Apple App Store. Currently it’s still in the top 20 for that category.

Will Line see the same success in the US market? What about Kakaotalk? Line’s Korean counterpart has 86 million downloads globally, and 10 million in Japan – not too shabby either.

There’s also China’s WeChat of course, which has more users than both Line and Kakaotalk combined (about 300 million). But I think overseas growth potential for that app is likely held back by concerns about the made-in-China app which make it a harder sell globally.

(Via AppBank)

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.

  1. I wonder if other types of graphs are permitted in the company… “A bar graph, you say? You’re fired!”  ↩