Line is a smartphone app that allows users to make free calls and messages to one another, both nationally and internationally, regardless of which mobile network provider they are using. Users can make free voice calls on iOS, Windows Phone, and Android over 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi.
Since being launched in June 2011 by NHN, has seen tremendous growth, seeing is usersbase grow by at least 10,000 every two months since its launch.
Line's features include instant translation service; Official Accounts, which enable users to interact with famous public figures; Timeline and Home, which allows user to share recent updates with friends; and emoji, or stickers, that customers can purchase and use to communicate with one another as well as personalize their user profiles.
In addition to its messaging app, Line also offers both a camera app, as well as games. Within ten months of its release, Line Camera was downloaded 20 million times and is currently the top camera app in 27 countries around the world. Line's first game that it integrated with its the mobile messaging application was called Line Pop. It hit 10 million downloads within 12 days of its release and now has more than 50 million registered players.
Line is available in Asia, Europe and North America. It has been ranked as the number one free app in 41 countries in the free app category including Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Macau, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Israel, Switerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belrus and Latvia.
The company says that it has seen a sharp increase in users in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, reaching 10 million users in Thailand and Taiwan. It is also growing quickly in Russia, Spain, Chile and Mexico. Line is seeing an average of three million new subscribers per week
"As we grow our business globally, we strive to always be one step ahead of users' needs and offer a wide variety of services to meet their quickly changing tastes," NHN Japan's CEO Akira Morikawa said at an event celebrating Line's user milestone Friday.
"Based on LINE's dynamic movement, we will tap into this momentum to further reinforce our contents to become the world's number one communication service."
Competition in North America
While Line says that it is growing in North America, but it faces still competition from other established messaging services.
Earlier this week, Facebook began to roll out its free voice calling service to users in the United States, following a trial in Canada that began in early January.
Users are able to call their friends, as long as both users the have the latest version of Messenger for iOS. All they have to do is tap the “i” icon in the top right of the screen when messaging a friend and then tap “Free call.” The recipient of the call will get a push notification telling them who is calling. If the call is missed, the recipient will get a notification.
Then there is ad-free cross-platform mobile messaging app WhatsApp, which Facebook was rumored to have been looking to buy last year. It uses push notifications to instantly send messages, pictures, audio notes and video messages for free. It is currently the most popular paid App on iOS, according to AppData.
Line could not be reached for comment.
Check out this fun video Line put up to celebrate the news: