Tokyo, Japan – February 6, 2014 – LINE Corporation, owner and operator of the free call and messaging app LINE, today announced their Q4 (October – December) and yearly earnings for 2013.
LINE Corporation’s revenue (1) for the quarter, calculated as net sales (2) from gross sales, was JPY 15.9 billion, an increase of 16% over the previous quarter. The total yearly revenue for 2013 was JPY 51.8 billion.
The revenue for LINE Corporation’s core business, LINE, totaled JPY 12.2 billion in the fourth quarter, a 20% increase over the previous quarter and a 450% increase over the same quarter in the previous year. The total yearly revenue for 2013 was JPY 34.3 billion.
(1)Consolidated performance including LINE PLUS Corporation, LINE Business Partners Corporation, and DataHotel Co., LTD.
(2)Net sales are calculated from sales taken from contracted developers from which the 30% handling fee charged by app stores such as Google or Apple since July 2013 has been deducted. This method of calculation was and will be used in all future and previous reports.
The increase in net sales based on the core LINE business is due to increases in in-game purchases (approx. 60% of revenue), sticker purchases (approx. 20% of revenue), and other areas such as official accounts and sponsored stickers.
Currently, LINE has 340 million users worldwide. Most recently, LINE Corporation has poured efforts into providing its users with increased usability and security. Also, through socially conscious global activities such as the “Pray for the Philippines” event that helped repair the damage caused by the typhoon, LINE Corporation is steadily bolstering the status of its brand. There has also been a marked increase in new user numbers for India, as well as Mexico, Venezuela, and other South American countries.
LINE GAME forged new partnerships with European game developers in Finland and France to release new titles. The number of games in the series grew to a total of 51 titles, further establishing the brand’s presence as a “global gaming platform.” LINE GAME also poured its resources into hosting promotional events in Taiwan and Thailand, leading to increased user numbers and revenue in the global market.
Through efforts such as the release of stickers featuring popular soccer stars in Mexico and the cultural highlights of Diwali, a major festival in India, the stickers business concentrated on producing highly localized products and was successful in further entrenching the culture of sticker communication in markets across the world. There are currently over 350 sticker sets featuring popular characters in the Sticker Shop, and the service plans to expand that number even further.
The advertising business focused efforts on Business to Consumer (BtoC), an arena with a high degree of daily user interactivity, in order to spur further global expansion of official accounts and sponsored stickers from countries around the world. A special incentive service available in seven countries, LINE Free Coins, experienced steady growth this quarter and enhanced its prospects as a marketing platform for the future.
Comment from LINE Corporation CEO Akira Morikawa:
Looking back on 2013, LINE broke 100 million users in January and then 300 million in November. It was a year of unprecedented growth for our company that brought a swift expansion in our user base.
LINE also captured the top spot globally, according to the American app ranking publication App Annie*, where LINE ranked first in sales for iOS and Android apps (games excluded) and publisher sales (games excluded) for 2013. LINE placed fifth in worldwide app sales even with sales for game apps included in the rankings, and along with our increasing user base, I believe we have secured a platform with tremendous potential for revenue.
However, this does not mean that we can start letting our guard down. We must strive to understand our users’ needs on a global scale, and in addition to releasing new services, developing new features, and furthering localization in markets around the world, we will work even harder to forge joint marketing relationship with local businesses.
Our next goal is to reach our target of 500 million users in 2014, and we will continue to seek new challenges throughout the year.
Please note that the above figures are based on preliminary internal financial information and may be amended by external auditors.