LINE CONFERENCE 2018 in Review

2018.06.28 ALL

● LINE to redesign the entertainment, media, business, commerce, AI, and financial sectors

● Blockchain-based "LINE Token Economy" concept and other new endeavors announced


TOKYO – June 28, 2018 – LINE Corporation announces that "LINE CONFERENCE 2018" was held today.


Session / Speaker

1) Keynote

 Takeshi Idezawa (Representative Director, President, and CEO)

2) Entertainment

 Jun Masuda (Director and CSMO)

3) Overseas

 Roger Chen (General Manager of LINE Taiwan)

 Ariya Banomyong (Managing Director of LINE Thailand)

 Takeshi Idezawa

4) Biz

 Masaki Hamura(Executive Officer and Head of Advertising Business Strategy)

5) Commerce

 Hideo Fujii(Executive Officer and Head of O2O Business)

6) Media

 Takeshi Shimamura (Senior Executive Officer and Head of Media)

7) AI

 Jun Masuda

8) Financial

 ― Financial Takeshi Idezawa

 ― LINE Pay Hisahiro Chofuku(Director and COO of LINE Pay Corporation)



1) Keynote


During the keynote speech, the company discussed its initiatives and successes over this past year, and announced its intention to continue to "redesign" its communication, content, business and other sectors to extend the convenience and richness that it has already added to users' lives. The company also discussed its intention to put a particular emphasis on the AI and financial sectors.


As its latest endeavor, the company announced that it will be moving forward with initiatives involving blockchain – a technology that is "redesigning" the internet – one of which is the "LINE Token Economy" concept.


LINE Token Economy, built with LINE-developed blockchain technologies

The LINE Token Economy concept announced at the conference uses blockchain technology custom-developed by the company to reward users with LINE’s own currency for reviewing services. This concept using review-based incentives allows services to grow and expand even further.


These efforts will further activate various services and their users. Further, the company plans to spread this token economy out into other, non-LINE services and create a system that facilitates other services and clients with similar needs to join in the market by reducing the time and cost required to implement a custom system.


The company is moving forward with full-scale research and development efforts into blockchain technologies. To these ends, its efforts have included the creation of "LINE Blockchain Lab" (a research organization within LINE for designing and developing dApp services) and establishment of "unblock" (a subsidiary for designing the token economy) in April, and in May the company entered into a partnership with the global blockchain project "ICON" and established "unchain" (for developing token economy-related technologies).




2) Entertainment Session


During the Entertainment session, the company discussed its theme of "Entertainment x Technology" and how it plans to use technology to bring about an evolution in entertainment. The company also announced that it will be redesigning the following services as described below.


LINE Music

LINE Music continues to grow steadily in pursuit of its goal of becoming a music streaming leader in Japan. The service has exceeded 26 million app downloads (as of May 2018) and boasts approximately 1.3 million ticket users. The company also announced two new features – Chat BGM and Music Videos – as initiatives to further accelerate growth of the service and the industry in general.


・ Chat BGM (Releasing summer 2018; tentative)

"Background Music," a feature used by over 7.8 million users that allows them to set their favorite song within their LINE profile, will be coming to LINE chats in the form of "Chat BGM." The new feature opening up in an even more frequently-used location within the LINE app will allow users to do things such as set a "theme song" for them and their friends in their chats.


・ Music Video (Releasing fall 2018; tentative)

Users will be able to watch music videos from within the LINE MUSIC app. Initially, the music videos from the following labels will be available.

(Participating labels; tentative)

Universal Music LLC / avex entertainment Inc /

JVC KENWOOD Victor Entertainment Corp. / Pony Canyon Inc. / King Record Co., Ltd. /

Space Shower Networks Inc. / K.K. A-Sketch / Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.


LINE Manga

・ Entered into a capital alliance with NAVER WEBTOON, the number 1 comic and book service in Korea

In order to further expand on the services offered by the digital comic service LINE Manga, the company will enter into a capital alliance with NAVER WEBTOON Corporation (operator of an online manga and book service in Korea and abroad) concerning LINE Digital Frontier Corporation (to be established on July 2, 2018). Through this alliance, the companies plan to combine "XOY," NAVER WEBTOON's free online manga service in Japan, with LINE Manga within 2018.

* Please see the following press release for more information: 


Game Business

・ LINE Quick Game (Releasing summer 2018)

The company announced "LINE Quick Game," a system that will allow users to play games through LINE Official Accounts without leaving the app or having to install a separate application. Eight titles are planned for launch this summer, including puzzle and shooting games, as well as chat-based story games. The service will continue to release a strong lineup of high quality titles spanning a wide variety of genres.

* Please see the following press release for a list of upcoming titles and other details:


・ LINE connectivity coming to internationally-acclaimed game "Knives Out" (Releasing soon)

The company has entered into a partnership agreement with NetEase Games to add LINE connectivity to the internationally-acclaimed game "Knives Out." The feature launching soon will allow users to make use of their LINE social graph within the game.


Smart Channel (Releasing 2018)

"Smart Channel" is a new information area coming to the top of the LINE chat list. Created under the concept of answering what the user wants to know about most at any given point in time, Smart Channel will provide personalized information that is useful to the user, such as local weather, important news, information on disasters, and more based on their user attributes and activity history within the LINE app.



3) Overseas Session


During the Overseas session, the country managers for Taiwan and Thailand – two of LINE's major markets – took the stage in a LINE CONFERENCE for the first time to discuss their business developments, latest results, and more. CEO Idezawa also spoke on business developments and strategy in other regions including Indonesia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and the Middle East. By keeping a keen eye on the local needs and allowing for independent local development, LINE has evolved and become deeply entrenched as a part of users' lives in each country.



4) Biz Session


Up until now, LINE's advertising businesses has provided advertising services which were focused on the concept of user communication, such as LINE Official Accounts and Sponsored Stickers. The company announced that it will be redesigning the service as it reforms itself into a business solution that closes the distance between users, businesses, and business owners by improving its value not as "advertising" but a "service for users" provided by companies and business owners.


Consolidating business accounts and introducing a new plan starting from JPY 0 (Release TBD)

LINE Official Accounts (offered primarily to major corporations) and LINE@ (offered primarily to small- to mid-sized businesses) will be brought together as a single solution named "LINE Official Accounts." Furthermore, the company will also be integrating LINE Business Connect (a service allowing for two-way communication between businesses and users), LINE Customer Connect (a customer support service for businesses), and LINE Point Connect (a point program service for businesses that uses LINE Points), under the newly established LINE Official Account. API can also be enabled as a separate option. This will allow businesses and business owners to provide each and every user with the information or services most appropriate for them. LINE Official Accounts will be available for use starting from JPY 0 per month, which will enable more businesses and business owners to use a variety of related services than before.


Branching out into the SMB sector

The company will be accelerating its efforts to branch out into the SMB sector by creating Osaka and Fukuoka-based sales teams, offering self-serving ads using the LINE Ads Platform, and filling out its SMB-focused product lineup in LINE Promotion Stickers and LINE Point Code.



5) Commerce Session


During the Commerce session, the company announced new initiatives and features for LINE Shopping (launched last year and reached 20 million registered members as of June 2018) and LINE Delima, as well as its newest entry in the commerce sector, LINE Travel.


LINE Shopping

・ Branch out into the offline sector (Starting fall 2018)

In order to further grow the service, the company announced that it will release a combined online/offline service this fall. Last year, the company launched a test initiative in collaboration with the dinos Koshigaya Outlet store that sent a message to users near the physical store through their LINE Shopping account. Users who presented the barcode in the message during checkout were granted a number of LINE Points depending on the amount of their purchase. The company plans to introduce services similar to this initiative into the offline sector.



・ Implementation of "LINE Pay for ID Payment" (Starting from fall 2018) 

"LINE Pay for ID Payment," the newest feature to come to the mobile money transfer and payment service "LINE Pay," will allow users to use their LINE Point balance when making online payments with LINE Pay, and simplify purchases by saving their registered mailing address and credit card information, avoiding the need to enter the information into each individual shopping site thereafter. LINE Shopping will start implementing this feature in affiliated shops this fall and provide users with a convenient and smooth payment experience.


・ "Shopping Lens" feature (Releasing today, June 28)

The company announced "Shopping Lens," a new feature that will allows users to use photos or images to search through the over 60 million items available on LINE Shopping.

* Please see the following press release for more information:



"LINE Travel" (Releasing today, June 28)

The company announced "LINE Travel," its comprehensive travel service and latest entry into the Commerce sector. LINE Travel allows users to search, reserve, and compare prices for the cheapest domestic and international hotels, tour packages, and airfare across 250 companies (including travel agencies, air carriers, and popular travel sites such as JTB). Features will be added in phases, starting with domestic and international accommodations available this summer, flights will launch in October, followed by domestic and international package tours in December.

* Please see the following press release for more information:



6) Media Session


LINE NEWS has topped 63 million monthly active users (as of June 2018) and is now the number one smartphone-based news service in terms of user reach. This massive user reach is not only the biggest in the news category but also among all types of media services in Japan. The company also announced "Deep Personalization" as its next step for LINE NEWS, a service that has been showing continuous growth. "My News" was announced as the company's newest initiative to promote Deep Personalization, the service's goal to make news personal. The company also announced its intent to seek out a wide variety of original content in order to enhance the diversity and selection of content it provides through LINE NEWS.



・ My News (Releasing 2018)

The company announced the new My News feature, which will become central to the LINE NEWS service in order to provide each and every user with ways to encounter and search for the information most useful to them. LINE NEWS will promote deep learning made possible only through LINE NEWS' ability to analyze the LINE platform's 75 million monthly active users entirely based on their ID.


Seeking original content (Opening up in 2018; tentative)

In addition to the already-launched "LINE Premium Interviews," the company announced that it will be creating a system to accept a diverse array of content from external pros and amateurs alike as it continues to expand its lineup of pictures, video, and other new, LINE NEWS original content.



7) AI Session


During the AI session, the company reviewed the events over the past year since the announcement of its AI assistant Clova, the response in Japan since the release of the first Clova speaker "Clova WAVE," and Clova's technology and other improvements the company has made. The company also announced an expansion of Clova's skills, the progress of its work with Toyota Motor Corporation, and its new smart speakers.


Control more home appliances

・ More manufacturers to add Clova Home connectivity (Starting from summer 2018)

The company announced that it will continue to expand upon the home appliances that connect with Clova Home, a feature that allows users to control IoT-enabled home appliances through Clova. In addition to the already-supported Phillips Hue (Signify Holding), the company plans to start adding connectivity with the following manufacturers.

(Manufacturers to be Supported)

its communications Inc. / Qrio, inc. / Glamo Inc. / SHARP CORPORATION / Secual, inc. /

Toshiba Visual Solutions Corporation / Panasonic Corporation / Mitsubishi Electric Corporation /

Philips Hue (Signify Holding) / RATOC Systems, Inc. / LIXIL Corporation /

LinkJapan Inc / Rinnai Corporation


・ Clova Friends Dock (On sale summer 2018; tentative)

An IR dock for the Clova Friends and Clova Friends mini units is planned for release this summer. Users can utilize the same IR remote features as Clova WAVE just by putting their unit in the IR dock.


Opening of the Skill Platform

・ Clova Extension Kit (Open for public release July 2018; tentative)

The company plans to release the Clova Extension Kit, which will allow developers to create their own Clova skills and expand on existing ones, together with a skill market. 34 initial partners with projects already under development were also announced.

* Please see the following press release for more information: 


New Clova devices

・ Clova Friends (Minions) (On sale fall 2018; tentative)

The company will begin selling Clova Friends and Clova Friends mini smart speakers designed after the Minion characters. A feature for talking with the Minions is also planned.



・ Clova Desk (On sale winter 2018; tentative)

The company announced that it will release "Clova Desk," a smart speaker with a display available in either white or black. The unit is planned to have a camera capable of recognizing images, IR remote functionality, and a battery.



Using DNN-TTS technology to add character depth

The company announced how it will utilize DNN-TTS (Deep Neural Network Text to Speech), based on deep learning technologies, to add depth to Clova characters. DNN-TTS will allow the company to mimic the characteristics of a voice with a minimal amount of data (approximately 4 hours of audio, 1/10 of that required in previous technologies), making it possible to produce clear and reliable voice synthesis, even when confronted with new vocabulary. A live demonstration was conducted during the AI session, in which voice synthesis using DNN-TTS was conducted to add CSMO Masuda's voice to Clova.


Clova Auto (Coming winter 2018; tentative)

The company announced "Clova Auto" – a system linking Clova and automobiles. Clova will be available in new car models that support Smart Device Link (SDL) which will be sold by Toyota Motor Corporation starting this winter.

* Please see the following press release for more information: 



8) Financial Session


As part of its biggest theme for the year, LINE announced that it would carry out a redesign of the financial sector as a new initiative. The concept that "finances = money" is an essential element to the realization and completion of LINE's "Smart Portal" growth strategy, and the company declared its intention to redesign the relationship between people and money. During the Financial session, the company announced its latest endeavors concerning the financial sector and LINE Pay.


LINE Financial

"BITBOX" – a global cryptocurrency exchange open for trading

(Service starting in July 2018; available in all regions, excluding Japan and the U.S.)

The company will be launching its cryptocurrency exchange BITBOX as one of its financial businesses. The service is planned to support at least 30 cryptocurrencies, and will be available across all regions (excluding Japan and the U.S.) with 15 languages (excluding Japanese) supported. 

* Please see the following press release for more information:



"LINE KAKEIBO" – a household budgeting and asset management service (Releasing fall 2018; tentative)

In the PFM (Personal Financial Management) sector, the company plans to launch LINE KAKEIBO around fall 2018. This personal household budgeting and asset management service will serve as an all-in-one management solution for monitoring asset management information and daily expenses and income. By connecting with LINE Pay and other financial services such as internet banking, credit cards, and e-commerce sites, the service will allow users to visualize the flow of their money (ex. investments, payments, or management) over the LINE platform. The service will also support OCR (optical character recognition/reader), allowing for information on purchases to be pulled in just by taking a picture of the receipt.



Insurance sector initiatives

LINE Financial Corporation and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc. entered into a business alliance in the non-life insurance sector in April 2018. As a new initiative with other partners, the company has made an investment in justInCase, Inc. ("justInCase"), a company that aims to provide insurance by using technology in a whole new way. justInCase provides "Smartphone Insurance" and other all new types of insurance that use a variety of data and AI to customize insurance rates to meet each user's unique risks. Users can easily enroll in the insurance directly through the company's app. justInCase has completed its registration as a small short-term insurance company and plans to formally begin operations on July 1.



The company announced its "payment revolution" with LINE Pay, and touched upon the following new initiatives.


Alliance with QUICPay to support contactless payments as a new payment method (Support beginning late 2018; tentative)

Joining the LINE Pay Card and QR/barcode payments, the company announced that it has entered into an alliance with QUICPay in order to add a third offline payment method: contactless payments. Android users will be able to make payments with their LINE Pay balance just by holding their smartphone over a reader at any of the approximately 720,000 QUICPay-enabled locations in Japan.

* Please see the following press release for more information: 


Announcing three initiatives to popularize code payments

* Please see the following press release for more information: 


1. Launch "LINE Pay for Merchants" payment app (Starting June 28)

The company will begin providing the "LINE Pay for Merchants" app (available for download today) as a way to allow merchants to accept LINE Pay QR code payments, enabling small- to medium-sized stores and business owners to implement code payments more easily. In addition to a "cash register" feature, the LINE Pay for Merchants app also provides a messaging feature that allows merchants to send messages to friends of their account by linking the account with the app. This will enable merchants to use the app not only for payment but for sales promotion too.



2. No transaction fees for three years when making QR code payments through the LINE Pay for Merchants app

(For three years starting from August 2018)

For three years (from August 2018 to August 2021), the company will not charge a transaction fee, usually borne by merchants when accepting digital payments, when using the LINE Pay for Merchants app. This will allow business operators who use the app to accept QR code payments with no initial fees and fee-free for three years.


3. "My Level" system upgrades (Starting August 2018)

In order to make the use of code payments even more beneficial to users, the company will greatly increase the rewards associated with code payment use under its My Level incentive program.

For one year (from August 1, 2018 through July 31, 2019), users with a level badge will receive an additional 3% back in LINE Points on top of the rate displayed for their level when making a code payment using a QR or barcode. Furthermore, the current monthly limit (JPY 100,000) on payments eligible for being awarded LINE Points will be eliminated.


LINE will continue to constantly take on new challenges and evolve as it finds new ways to use technology that align with LINE's style, and will continue to use the LINE platform to create a more enriching and convenient world to meet the expectations of its users.