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Japanese messaging app LINE decides against an IPO this year

lineJapanese messaging app LINE, has decided against an initial public offering (IPO) this year, reports Bloomberg. The company said it had considered an IPO for its overseas growth strategy, but the messaging service has grown fast enough since, for it to decide against it.

The South Korea based Naver Corp owned company had previously filed for an initial public offering (IPO) at the Tokyo Stock Exchange in July this year, with an initial valuation of $10 billion. Nomura Holdings Inc. and Morgan Stanley had been appointed to manage the Tokyo IPO while the company also considered the possibility of an IPO in the United States, by publicly listing on the NYSE or NASDAQ as well.

The LINE app is currently available for free across various operating systems like Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Mac and Windows etc. Similar to other messaging apps, it allows users to send message and make voice calls over an active internet connection. It also features a ‘Home’ and ‘Timeline’ section which allow users to share moments and browse through their friend’s moments, similar to some of its competitors features.

Line, had started focusing on the Indian market in July last year and had appointed Damandeep Singh Soni as the head of its India Business Development early this year. The app takes an ecosystem approach in India as a differentiator from the other messaging apps in the country. Earlier in February, it had partnered with Groupon India to provide daily deals through an official ‘Groupon Freebies’ account via its app.

Currently, the app competes with WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, WeChat, Imsy, PlusText, Viber, Hike etc., in the Indian market. As of April this year, the app claimed to have 18 million registered users in India as opposed WhatsApp which claims to have crossed 50 million active users in the country as of June, Hike which claims to have 20 million registered users also as of June and Rakuten’s Viber which claims to have 15 million registered users as of February this year.

Monetization: The company offers both free and paid stickers as in-app purchases, as a part of its monetization strategy. It recently launched its Line Creators Market, a platform that allows users to sell self-made stickers, of which developers would receive approximately 50% per sale. Line also monetizes by charging celebrities, brands and other companies for official accounts.

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The company’s Q2 2014 earnings increased by close to 150 percent on a year-on-year basis to 18.2 billion Yen from 7.4 billion Yen in Q2 last year. Most of its income came from in-app purchases and games with the Line Creator Market generating 150 million Yen in total sales in its first month itself. Its competitor WhatsApp however, has yet stayed away from monetization via in-app purchases and games.

Also read: How LINE is dealing with a late entry into the mobile messaging market in India

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