Line App May Top 200 Million Users in July on Overseas Expansion

Line Corp., a unit of South Korea’s biggest Internet search provider NHN Corp., said its instant-messaging application may top 200 million users this month on rising popularity in overseas markets including Spain.

The company is targeting at least 1 billion users, Satoshi Yajima, senior manager at Line’s marketing communication department, said in an interview in Tokyo last week. The app had 180 million registered users as of June 26, according to Line.

Line’s growth is accelerating after it reached 100 million users in January, or 19 months after its introduction -- almost triple the pace of growth for Facebook Inc.’s social network. The app is available for personal computers and mobile phones, including smartphones running Google Inc.’s Android and Apple Inc.’s iOS software.

The service, which has topped Apple’s or Google’s rankings of free downloads in 47 countries, features cartoon characters and other “stickers” that users can include in chat messages. It also lets users send photos and make free voice calls.

Of Line’s 180 million users, more than 45 million were in Japan, while Spain and Indonesia accounted for 10 million each, according to NHN. There were about 15 million users each in Taiwan and Thailand.

Facebook had more than 1.11 billion users as of March, according to the Menlo Park, California-based company.

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