NHN Japan’s LINE App Hits 20 Million Users – After Just 8 Months

20 million – that’s the amazing number of users that LINE, a communication app made by NHN Japan, just hit. The free voice call/messenger app for iOS and Android just took eight months to reach this milestone (it was released in June last year).

LINE makes it possible for users to call or text each other for free after pulling information from the phone’s contact list (other people can be added via their LINE-specific ID). As a special feature, users can exchange “stickers” (cute icons and graphics) with each other (see below). Group communication is possible, too.

NHN Japan reported 10 million users in December 2011 and 15 million users on January 27. The company says that it reached 20 million users faster than Facebook (which needed roughly 38 months), Twitter (26 months), Mixi (73 months), GREE (77 months), or Mobage (54 months).

What’s interesting (apart from the unbelievable growth) is that 60% users are from outside Japan: this number makes LINE one of the most successful (internationally used) web/mobile products coming out of this country ever.

Even though NHN Japan is the local subsidiary of Korean Internet powerhouse NHN, LINE was completely designed, created and marketed out of the Tokyo office (the first version of LINE hit the App Store after six weeks of development).

NHN Japan is planning to launch LINE for computers and tablets next.


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Dr. Serkan Toto is a German based in Tokyo. Like us, he is passionate about introducing Japanese IT to the rest of the world. Full-time, Serkan works as an independent web industry consultant for hedge funds, venture capital companies and start-ups worldwide. He is also a writer for mega tech blog network TechCrunch, covering Japan-related technology and web trends. This is Serkan's website. Follow Serkan on Twitter here.