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Continued from Part 1…
Line has also striven to become a fully comprehensive social network. As early as 2012, it introduced its Home and Timeline features, similar to features in Facebook. Other profitable services include Line Manga and Line Play, a platform for mobile games like 2014’s monumentally successful Disney Tsum Tsum. And Line Pay remains one of the most commonly used money payment applications in Japan.
Line hasn’t been without its failures, however, and many of its extra features have been discontinued, including Line Taxi, which was established as a competitor to Uber, and Line Mall, an e-commerce service similar to Mercari. Also, during its 10-year history, Line has been no stranger to scandal, and has already been subject to several data breaches and hacks.
Outside Japan, Line has become the No. 1 messaging app in Taiwan and Thailand, but isn’t well-known in other countries, including many where competitor WhatsApp reigns supreme. What’s more, China and Russia have both prohibited Line, and there is no sign they will reverse their decisions.
But in its place of birth, Line is here to stay. It has quietly become part of the glue that holds Japanese society together and is used by people from all walks of life. It’s more than just an app. Line provides us with the most essential of human needs: communication — with just a dash of cute too. (Jasmin Hayward)
This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.