Steven Millward
Steven Millward
3:43 pm on Sep 10, 2013

China’s messaging app scene might be dominated by WeChat, but Japan-made rival Line nonetheless launched officially in China in December last year. In order to boost user numbers and visibility, Line has teamed up with one Chinese Android app store to promote the app in a fun way.

The deal with Wandoujia sees Line promoted heavily on the third-party app store, as well as special stickers based on Wandoujia’s pea icon/name now available for download for Chinese users of the app. These are the promo stickers:

Line stickers for China

Wandoujia is one of China’s top app stores for the nation’s hundreds of millions of Android phone users, adding 500,000 new users per day to its mobile app store. It’s an alternative to the very unpopular Google Play store in China.

It’s not clear how Line is progressing in China in terms of user numbers. In such cases, no news is usually bad news. We’ve seen that Line has grown to have 18 million registered users in Thailand, 17 million in Taiwan, and 14 million in Indonesia – but I get the feeling that Line has fewer on board in mainland China.

On the Wandoujia app store, Line has been downloaded a total of three million times, in contrast to WeChat’s 130 million downloads on the same site. Not a good indicator of possible user numbers, of course, but it’s an interesting indicator of how seriously Tencent’s WeChat dominates this market.

(Editing by Paul Bischoff)

  • Kai Lukoff @ Wandoujia

    I don’t have data on LINE’s numbers in China. But I do have one good friend here who now uses it as a messaging app for close friends–not that everybody is on WeChat, it’s no longer intimate. It’s targeting higher-end youth in China, which is a great match for Wandoujia.

    Whether this strategy will work in the long run depends on whether the messaging market is “winner-take-all” or whether smaller players can also play. My guess it that it’s “winner-take-most”, where the China winner is clearly WeChat, but that there’s still a sizeable market left for others like LINE.

    LINE x Wandoujia is also part of a trend to integrate the intellectual property of top brands into mobile apps. Recent examples include Star Wars x Angry Birds, Skittles x Fruit Ninja, Disney’s Brave x Temple Run, and now KitKat x Google Android.

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