Born from Japan disasters, Line app sets sights on U.S., China
News On Japan via chicagotribune.com -- Aug 17
Born in the chaos after Japan's 2011 disasters, the smartphone application "Line" has attracted 50 million users faster than Facebook with a made-in-Japan blend of cute and the promise of free communication.
Now, the company behind the application is readying an online media campaign to promote the app in China and the United States to sustain its meteoric growth rate and hit the 100 million-user mark by December.
"In the smartphone business, you can't win unless you're No.1 in the world in terms of membership," Akira Morikawa, the president of NHN Japan, told Reuters.
The company, a unit of South Korea's NHN Corp and which also runs the Naver search engine in Japan, created the Line app after the massive earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis that struck northeast Japan in March 2011 disrupted phone lines across the country.
NHN Japan employees, forced to turn to the Internet to reach each other, decided to develop Line, which launched in June 2011.
While it took Facebook more than three years to reach 58 million users from its launch in 2004 to 2007, Line reached 50 million users in just over a year.
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