28 October 2016
A large cast of 'sticker' characters contributes to Line's popularity. Photo:
A large cast of 'sticker' characters contributes to Line's popularity. Photo:

Line eyeing dual listing in Tokyo, New York

Japan’s Line Corp., which operates a popular smartphone messaging app, is preparing to list in Tokyo as early as this summer and may also list in New York, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Line, which competes with messaging services such as Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat, filed another application last month for an initial public offering on the Tokyo Stock Exchange after deciding not to go ahead with a listing last year.

The firm will probably seek to go public before Japan Post Holdings Co. — the state-owned postal service, which plans two large IPOs – depending on market conditions, the report said.

Line said last month that revenue from its namesake app jumped 76 percent in the January-to-March quarter over the same period a year earlier.

It said it now has 205 million monthly active users, of whom 123 million come from Line’s top four countries in terms of market share: Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia.

Line provides free messaging and voice calls and generates revenue from the sale of “stickers” (icons to be used in messages) games and other services.

The firm said it plans to continue expanding its platform by providing content and services such as e-shopping, mobile payments and taxi-hailing.

The report said Line plans to use proceeds from the IPO to finance its Japanese business and marketing and other initiatives aimed at growing its services overseas.

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