Asian Messaging App Agency Line Is Creating A Digital Butler Service
Line, the Asian messaging app firm recognized for its cute animated stickers, is creating a digital butler service because it bids to spice up its income with standalone apps and providers.
A supply inside Line, who declined to disclose their id as a result of they don’t seem to be approved to speak to press, informed TechCrunch that the digital butler will launch in Thailand in February, after which the initiative might increase to different nations if it exhibits promise. Line, which is predicated in Japan however owned by Korea’s Naver group, has positioned precedence on monetizing its userbase — at present 215 million month-to-month lively customers — and increasing its presence in ‘winnable’ elements of Asia, over making positive aspects in Europe and the U.S. because it had executed earlier than.
A part of that focus is to launch apps and providers that hook up with its core Line service. Already it has funds, taxis on-demand, music and video streaming, and extra. The preliminary concentrate on Thailand is sensible as a result of its a core market the place Line is as well-liked as Fb. Certainly, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia mixed characterize over sixty five % of Line’s lively customers. Thailand is already a testbed for Line: Line Music — a Spotify-like service — was first examined in Thailand, as was its YouTube-like ‘TV’ service. The butler service is the primary app from Line’s new R&D workforce in Thai capital Bangkok, its first improvement middle outdoors of Japan, which tasked with creating apps and providers for the native market. Final yr, Line poached the top of Google Thailand to steer its enterprise within the nation.
Line already has relationships with huge corporations for sticker-based mostly promoting and its bot-like ‘Official Accounts’, and TechCrunch understands it’s already sourcing service companions for the butler initiative. A supply at a type of corporations informed TechCrunch that the butler service will act as concierge, in comparable in type to Magic within the U.S. which permits customers to request any* merchandise or service which is then delivered for a further charge. (*Nicely, not tigers, at the least.)
Line must work on higher monetizing its userbase whether it is take one other shot at going public. The corporate deserted an inventory — which was rumored to be a twin U.S.-Japan providing — in 2014 and once more final yr. The corporate lately revealed that it grossed $1 billion in income yearly for the primary time (final yr), however it’s unclear whether or not it’s worthwhile.
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