Line, the Japanese mobile app service known for its animated emoticons is looking to raise up to $1 billion in its initial public offering in New York and Tokyo in July.
Japan’s Messaging App, Line, Ready for New York and Tokyo IPO
The IPO would place the value of Line at over $5 billion, which could result into this being the largest market launch for a tech company this year.
Owned by the South Korean-based Naver online portal, Line is making its foray into the financial markets at a time when many start up technology firms are finding it increasingly challenging to raise funds from investors.
However, Line has over $300 million in revenue and is backed by a major internet company in Korea. This gives Line an added advantage over other start-up companies that may be seeking funding in the future.
In addition to being a messaging app, Line also allows users to make voice calls and share images. The service makes money through the sale of emoticons, traditional advertising and video games.
Line allows brands and celebrities to create accounts to engage with fans over social media. Recently, the company has grown its offering to include online payments and ride hailing.
The mobile app service attracts over 200 million users and is the most popular in Japan. Its competitors include WhatsApp and We Chat owned by Facebook and Chinese-based Tencent respectively, all of which leverage smartphone usage. Other Line users are in the Thai, Taiwanese and Indonesian markets.
In recent quarters, Line has boasted steady revenue growth.
The IPO will enable the company to expand into new market s and to grow its service offering.
Line does face stiff competition from other messaging services, many of which have a stronghold in crucial markets in Asia and globally.
The competition is so steep that Line does not have a stronghold in South Korea, which is Line’s parent country through Naver, which is strongly established in the country. In South Korea, Kakao Talk is the most dominant while WeChat dominates the Chinese market.
Nevertheless, Line continues to show intentions of competing in markets such as the US against the likes of Snapchat and Facebook.