Line first launched officially in India some three months ago, armed with a TV ad campaign targeted at high-school aged users. According to Line Corp today, the messaging app has reached 10 million registered users in India and expects to cross 20 million by year’s end.
Line has over 230 million registered users in total, with 18 million in Thailand, which is the app’s top nation outside of Japan. Eyeing the rapid growth in the smartphone market, Line wants to be the top smartphone chat app in India and is employing some aggressive marketing initiatives in order to reach its goal.
Akira Morkawa, Line Corporation’s CEO, said this morning:
India has overtaken Japan to become the country with the third largest number of smartphone users. It is only natural to anticipate further growth of the smartphone market in India and we believe that it will become a vital territory as Line expands into the global marketplace.
The 10 million user-base milestone in India is a big surprise for the Japanese company itself. According to Morkawa, ever since Line’s marketing blitz in India in July, the growing number of users has far exceeded the firm’s own expectations. It’s even surpassed growth rates in Line’s other key markets like Thailand and Taiwan.
Line is keen to maintain its solid traction in India, and has already committed to several fresh marketing initiatives intended to increase its visibility.
Alongside more TV ads, Line has inked exclusive content deals with the studios behind popular Bollywood flicks such as Phata Poster Nikla Hero and Besharam, along with upcoming titles such as Krrish3 and Dhoom 3.
Line has also roped in Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif, as its brand ambassador. She will be seen in new the TV ad campaign on the eve of Diwali, India’s festival of lights, starting on October 11. Line will also have India-exclusive Katrina Kaif stickers. This is in line with the app’s tradition of partnering with well-known celebrities.
In addition, Line has partnered with Sony India to be preinstalled on smartphones such as the Xperia Z1, Xperia C; Line and Sony will come out with a common ad campaign. Meanwhile, Sony’s music arm, Sony Music Entertainment, will open a brand account on Line to push its music line-up.
Smartphone shipments to India tripled in Q2 2013, according to IDC, and as a result, whereas the chat app battle is long over in some countries, in India, it’s still anyone’s game. WhatsApp founder Jan Koum stated last August that his app had 20 million monthly active users in India, meanwhile, another study released by GlobalWebIndex revealed that China’s WeChat messaging service was the fifth most-used app in the country.
(Editing by Steven Millward and Josh Horwitz)