LINE gears up efforts to beat KakaoTalk in home market

Although under the NHN corporation, messenger app LINE was released under Naver Japan and its user base are mostly outside Korea. LINE has 43 million registered users just within 1 year of its release but in its home country, it barely has a presence, both in terms of brand name and user base.

NHN is finally starting an aggressive marketing campaign to attract more Korean users to its messenger service, in hope of getting a slice of the pie currently overwhelmingly dominated by KakaoTalk.

According to an industry insider on the 27th, NHN is moving away from global marketing campaigns and has been stepping up local marketing campaigns with the use of TV advertisements and other strategies such as product placements.

NHN recently collaborated with local famous program ‘Gag Concert’ to introduce LINE as a product placement in the show. NHN made an account for the program in its service and users are encouraged to send in ideas / feedback for part of the show and the ideas will be reflected at the side of the screen, together with the LINE logo.

In addition, NHN is also embarking on a Facebook marketing campaign. Besides a frequently updated Facebook page, NHN is also creating events and contests where prizes such as dining vouchers are given out as prizes.

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NHN has also created a tie-in with the Yeosu Expo 2012 and a pavilion ‘LINE Square’ is set up to allow visitors to experience the service and all features directly. More photos can be accessed on Naver’s official blog here.

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Currently, the number of local registered users is estimated to be around 4 million. In light of all the aggressive marketing tactics, it will be interesting to see if LINE can increase its local user base, usage rate or even surpass KakaoTalk in the future. With the release of the popular LINE Camera app and its integration with LINE, it is likely that LINE will pose as a strong competitor for KakaoTalk in the local market. However, KakaoTalk is not going to make it easy for NHN, having released its own cyber money just a few days ago and launching a game center in July. Keep watch on the competition!

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Information Source: Digital Times

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