Line Corp., a developer of mobile applications, plans to expand in China later this year by forming a local team to develop content and features for the world’s largest mobile market, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai, Line’s head of business development Kang Hyunbin said the company considers China a strategic market “as it will have hundreds of millions of new smartphone users in the coming two years”.
Line, a Japanese subsidiary of South Korean internet content service provider Naver Corp. (035420.CN), is the creator of popular emoticons such as Moon. It has more than 400 million registered users worldwide and competes with WhatsApp and Tencent Holdings’ WeChat.
Last year it had sales of US$1.5 billion, compared with WhatsApp’s US$20 million. Revenue comes mostly from sales of virtual items for mobile games and digital stickers, the report said.
Its plan to expand in China will put it in direct competition with WeChat, which has more than 300 monthly users in the country, analysts were quoted as saying.
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