Chat app Line begins providing supply on-demand providers
The way forward for cellular messaging is pointing in the direction of serves, however don’t assume that solely applies to digital choices like cash transfers and buying. Japan’s Line, one of many world’s most used chat apps, has simply made a transfer into on-demand providers.
The pilot transfer is initially in Thailand — one among Line’s strongest markets and a earlier check mattress for music and video streaming providers — the place its 30 million-plus customers could make use of courier, meals and grocery supply providers by way of the new ‘Line Man’ app. Earlier this yr we reported that a digital butler service was coming and that is it.
The Line Man service is powered by Lalamove, a logistics startup that has raised greater than $20 million in funding and will present motorcycle supply employees sporting inexperienced jackets clad with Line’s cartoonish emoji characters. Line stated that Thailand is the primary marketplace for the service, nevertheless it might increase to different elements of the world if it proves profitable.
Whereas Line has over 218 million lively customers in accordance with its most up-to-date knowledge, sixty nine % of these are based mostly in 4 nations: Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia. The maturing of messaging markets means most nations have already got their prime apps which individuals use, and thus rising a userbase in a market the place your chat app isn’t prime canine turns into massively difficult. Line’s prospects of progress in different elements of Asia — the continent the place it’s focusing its assets — are robust, however having a robust following in these 4 aforementioned markets does imply that providers like Line Man have an honest shot at gaining traction the place Line is widespread.
Past present courier providers, resembling FoodPanda, Line is more likely to be challenged by experience on-demand providers. Seize just lately launched supply providers in Indonesia, the place one other on-demand startup Go-Jek already performs in that area within the nation. Uber has non-taxi providers within the U.S., however it has but to increase these to Asia — that would change sooner or later, although, provided that it now operates a fleet of bike taxis in some markets. Uber Moto is presently in India, Thailand and Indonesia, however is more likely to broaden to different elements of Asia over time.
As if that wasn’t sufficient crossover, Line has truly operated its personal Uber-like service in Japan since 2015, though it stays to be seen whether or not that initiative will broaden abroad.
Line has been linked with a public itemizing for the final two years. The Japanese firm reportedly canceled twin U.S.-Japan listings in 2014 and 2015, and already there’s been speak of a renewed effort this yr. Displaying progress is the secret for going public, and this transfer into providers is a part of the corporate’s efforts to be “greater than only a messaging app” for its customers.