NHN Japan’s Line application, which recently surpassed 50 million users worldwide, has just received a big boost in the top grossing apps rankings. The company’s iOS app was ranked 23rd overall in the Japan App Store on August 11, but after the recent addition of the Home and Timeline features on Monday, it shot back up to second overall in the App Store today (see chart below). And ostensibly taking advantage of this new surge, NHN Japan pushed out eight new kinds of stickers yesterday which users can buy.
The company announced back in early July that its sticker shop had made over 350 million yen (or $4.38 million), so apparently it knows what it’s doing.
The successful monetization of its kind of sticker model is very interesting, especially for those of us looking on from foreign countries. Are applications like Line only successful in their monetization because Japanese customers are accustomed to paying for items on their mobile devices? How much of their success is due to the experience and know-how of in the mobile space? And perhaps the million dollar question is, can concepts such as this one translate to other markets outside of Japan and be just as profitable?
My guess is that as mobile penetration and mobile payments elsewhere catches up with Japan, then users habits will gradually begin to resemble Japanese habits. I don’t think such made-in-Japan models will be as profitable, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be profitable.
But NHN Japan is certainly going to try, and indeed has already started with localized stickers in places like Indonesia and Thailand. A representative recently informed us that China is in their plans as well. [Via gamebiz.jp]