LINE Making Slow Progress in China, But Doing Well in Other Regions

14 Apr

LINE, an instant messaging service developed in Japan, will have a tough time cracking the China market due to the sheer size of its competitors’ users and the tendency for “foreign innovation” to be “copied,” according to LINE CEO Akira Morikawa. 

“Competing against China’s WeChat, metaphorically speaking, is like pitting a tiny shrimp against a whale,” Morikawa said during a recent interview, referring to the massive 300 million China user base amassed by the Chinese messaging service.

In addition to the seemingly insurmountable size of its Chinese rivals’ domestic followers, Morikawa spoke also of the general ease with which the local Chinese companies are capable of copying the innovations and services of others. Such a trend, the Japanese CEO cautioned, not only makes “market penetration potentially more difficult for foreign brands,” but also severely limits their overall appeal to Chinese audiences.

The progresses that are made by the Japanese messaging company outside of China, fortunately, appear to be more positive. As revealed by an article from CNYes, LINE receives an estimated 1.7 million new users on a daily basis, and has been successful in attracting new followers in the US and European regions. For 2015, Morikawa is confident that his company’s messaging service will continue to improve, and estimates that the number of global users for LINE will double from the existing 500 million to approximately 1 billion.