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Hold the Line

One of the country's most popular mobile chat applications continues to attract users thanks to great new add-ons

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Do you use LINE? If your answer is no, you are probably well off trend. The free chat mobile app has drawn over 10 million Thai users in less than a year. 

Users can share realistic, emotional expressions while chatting, and enjoy more pleasant and exciting conversations. Over 1,400 types of LINE's cute and fun stickers are available in the Sticker Shop, both for free and at a cost. The stickers and emoticons use characters Brown, Cony and Moon to express a wide array of emotions.

After opening the Sticker Shop, LINE became the top-grosser in the App Stores of Taiwan and Thailand, as well as becoming the most popular in a number of other Asian countries. Today LINE has been ranked No.1 in the free application category in 37 countries.

Lee Jin-woo, business representative of LINE Thailand, said that when it was first introduced in Thailand in January this year, there were less than a million users, but the launch of LINE Card, a greeting card app, brought big change. The company also offered the app on multiple devices across iOS and Android, and recently on BlackBerry and Windows, and also on PCs.

In a bid to make LINE more fun, LINE Camera was introduced in April, offering more than 100 different photo frames and more than 700 stamps. LINE Camera achieved 20 million downloads and was ranked the top app in the photo and video app category in 21 markets.

What made LINE popular is that the character stickers were created based on real-life situations. For example, the "Brown & Cony's Secret Date" sticker shows the feelings of the couple through their faces, and the "Job Hunting" sticker reflects the emotions of those who are unemployed and are seeking a job.

Users are also able to share their life stories by posting pictures, videos, and location information on their own spaces, called "Home" and "TimeLine".

Lee noted that the launch of the LINE Official Account and sponsor stickers have encouraged more users to engage with the app. Thai corporations who have LINE Official Accounts are Universal Music Thailand, THAI Airways International, Charoen Pokphand Foods, SCB, TrueMove, Major Cineplex, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Brand's, Kantana, and AEON. The companies use LINE as a channel to build their brand among users.

Birzzle was the first game on the LINE platform and in November, its Pop game hit 10 million downloads in 12 days and was ranked number one in the top free app chart in 11 countries. As of Dec 10, there were 10.2 million LINE users in Thailand _ third behind Japan and Taiwan. Globally, there are 85 million.

"In less than one year, LINE increased by 1,150% in Thailand and the growth of next year depends on the number of smartphones here," Lee said, adding that in 2013 users will be able to experience more fun and exciting services, with over 10 new apps.

LINE will also be opening up for local programmers to develop more apps for the company in local and international markets.

Initially, most of the LINE users across Thailand were operating the iOS platform, however now an estimated 55% of them are using Android systems, while iOS has 40%, and 5% are using BlackBerry and Windows.

With Line Camera, users can decorate pictures with photo frames and fabulous stamps.

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