Whenever you click on the green LINE app, you dive into the world of LINE, where you’re suddenly surrounded by a sea of stickers and friends. A lot of us don’t even like the app, but we just use it because of family (annoying family chats, am I right?). But hey, it’s free, it’s cute, and it’s a good substitute for text messages and phone calls.
So where did this app come from? LINE was originally created not as an entertainment app, but as a viable mobile communication system needed when the great Tohoku 9.0 earthquake hit Japan in 2011. The tragic event affected cellular and landline phone services to suffer, thus allowing Human Network Japan to create LINE to facilitate communication and relief efforts. When released to the public in 2011, it became an unexpected hit.
By July 2013, LINE had not just become a huge hit in Japan, but become a worldwide success, especially in Asia. LINE was the 6th most downloaded app in Google Play and iTunes as a communication tool in 2013. Soon, LINE grew to greater success: it became the world’s number 1 non-gaming app in terms of revenue, surpassing Skype and Whatsapp.
A feature that makes LINE unique is its interesting source of revenue– stickers. You all know what I’m talking about. They’re extremely popular among LINE users, generating 20% of the company’s venue. Some stickers are used for charity as well; for instance, Typhoon Haiyan’s destruction in the Philippines last year inspired LINE to create the “Pray for the Philippines” sticker set. Every dollar spent on purchasing a special pack of stickers was donated to the victims of the typhoon. The project was a success, raising over $565,371 USD.
Next time you tap on the LINE icon to respond to relatives or annoying family chats, appreciate its history. Maybe you’ve been judging the app by its cover.