Far East

Far East

M-commerce in Asia: what is LINE app doing, and where

22 Jan 2014



M-commerce seems to be among the most promising trends of 2014, and Asia is definitely the place where the most is happening.


M-commerce: innovation is from the East

Right in the first days of the New Year, LINE’s main competitor WeChat revolutionised the transportation business through a partnership with Didi – popular Chinese Taxi-booking app.

People can call a cab in the Beijing area, and also pay for the trip right through the IM app – something that sounds almost inconceivable in the Western world, yet in China generated over 100 thousand transactions in less than 10 days (more on Tech in Asia). 

Over the last months, LINE too has started pushing on innovation and e-commerce integration, as numbers keep on growing. Developed by Naver Corporation initially for the Japanese market, then rapidly evolving into an international sensation, LINE announced 300 million total users worldwide at the end of 2013.

Let’s explore its recent promotional initiatives in Asia, with a focus on its constant product innovation – of course including m-commerce applications.


LINE Stickers


LINE in Japan

Right in its hometown, the LINE team has developed some really nice initiatives to keep an eye on. Towards the end of the year a C2C e-commerce platform was announced, which will go online in spring 2014.

LINE Mall will allow users to purchase products without listing fees, savings over 10% for certain products. Payments can also be made through the LINE app itself, where both the vendor and the buyer need to have an account (source: TechCrunch).


LINE m-commerce


M-commerce in Thailand

Rakuten-owned – the biggest e-commerce in Thailand – has set its eyes on the Japanese application and its large expansion in the country. The online company launched a series of exclusive stickers for the Thai market. Along with these, they also started the first mobile adv campaign through the use of LINE (source: Tech in Asia).


LINE Rakuten Thailand


Let’s stick to Thailand, but changing the industry. L’Oreal, world-known brand in the field of cosmetics, decided to build a partnership with LINE to enter the m-commerce market in Thailand. On December 16th 2013 Maybelline has exclusively launched on LINE a new range of products – a week ahead of the “real world” market – thus giving the opportunity to try out a preview of the new products for the IM app users.

App users that, according to e27, are now over 20 million in Thailand.


LINE Thailand


LINE’s strategy for India

While in Thailand LINE has focused on m-commerce, in India the IM app’s team has focused on “old media”, with a series of TV commercials. Yet they did not forget the digital sphere, with a brand new Hindi section of the website.



In India LINE literally registered an explosion in active users over last years, with a growth of over 70% from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013 (source: e27).


LINE goes “offline” in Indonesia

We are going to finish this trip around the Indian Ocean with Indonesia. In December 2013 LINE decided to build a temporary shop in a Jakarta Mall, with walls and concrete. A true physical shop, as a part of its Christmas promotion. You can check out all the pictures on Tech in Asia.


LINE Store Jakarta


Although the prices were a bit high for the market (dolls ranging from 30 to 400 USD), the initiative encountered a great enthusiasm among visitors, who literally besieged the pop-up store until its closure.


LINE in Europe

What’s happening in Europe? While in Spain LINE focused on sports and ran a TV-based promotion activity similar to the Indian one – as we discussed a few months ago with LINE’s Global Communication manager – in Italy they are using the image of pop-star Emma Marrone.



What are the next steps of the LINE team in the world? Will these strategies be enough to find new ways to fight the hegemony of WhatsApp and WeChat? We will see.

Alessandro Rigato

Alessandro Rigato

After a series of experience in different agencies around Northern Italy, he started working at Young Digitals to deal with project management, market research and web monitoring.


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