Line app is big in Japan. In the 10 years since its launch, Line has become the leading social platform in the country with nearly 68% of the population on the app. No other social network other than YouTube can rival Line’s dominance of the Japanese market.

Line started out as a mobile messaging app, but has since evolved into a sort of “super app” with a mission to become the “infrastructure of life” for its users.

The app’s portfolio includes everything from news and social feeds to banking and healthcare.

Until recently, marketing the app by overseas businesses was a bit too complicated. But with ownership considering global growth, that is changing. Official Accounts have been simplified and more information is now available in English.

Looking to reach the largest audience in Japan? Learn more about the Line app and find out if it’s right for your business.

What is the line app?

Line is a social media app founded in South Korea but especially popular in Japan. It was launched in June 2011 in response to the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan three months earlier. The app was created to provide people with a reliable line of communication during disasters, but it soon became a daily messaging tool.

Line is now considered a “super app”. Much like WeChat in China and KakaoTalk in South Korea, the platform has evolved from a chat app to a hub for entertainment, social and everyday activities. Imagine YouTube, Spotify, WhatsApp, Instagram, Reddit, Clubhouse and Uber merging… and then some.

As media studies professor Marc Steinberg put it in a recent article: Line is “a Swiss army-style app that does pretty much everything.”

How does the Line app work?

Like other social platforms, on Line users can create profiles, connect with friends in private or public channels, and switch between a personalized timeline and the newly added discovery tab.

In addition to posting posts and videos, people can also create stories like on Instagram and other sites.


Source: Liner

What is the Line app used for?

What sets Line apart from other social networks is the features and tools it offers.

Beyond mobile messaging, voice calls and video calls, Line integrates tools for banking, shopping and more. The app also centralizes access to healthcare, travel agencies, restaurants and shops, and job boards.

Line also doubles as a news aggregator and media streaming service, giving users access to daily articles, over 70 million songs, manga, live videos, games and much more.

To summarize, here is a non-exhaustive list of what Line can be used for:

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  • Messaging on
  • Voice and video calls
  • Sharing and creating stickers
  • OpenChat forums and topics
  • Pay or send money with Line Pay
  • Ordering food with Line Man
  • Getting predictions from calligraphers
  • Discovering and reading manga
  • Consultation with healthcare professionals
  • Send gifts to your friends with Line Gift
  • Investing in stocks or cryptocurrency
  • Streaming music, live concerts, sports and more
  • Watch and talk to broadcasters on Line Live


line app trending broadcasters and popular publications

Source: Liner

You can find the full list of Line app services here.

Who owns the Line app?

Line is a consolidated subsidiary of South Korean internet giant Naver and SoftBank Corp. Each company owns 50% of Line.

In March 2021, Line joined SoftBank’s subsidiary Yahoo! Japan was renamed Z Holdings. Line was renamed, for its part, A Holdings Corporation, but is still branded and recognized as Line.

The consolidation of Line and Z Holdings creates an important alliance between their parent companies. Softbank has committed to invest JPY 500 billion (USD 4.7 billion) and hire 5,000 AI engineers to make the asset more competitive in the global market.

“The integration is expected to lead to significant expansion in the user base, as LINE and Yahoo Japan serve what has been termed ’10-20 generations’ and ’40-50 generations’, respectively,” Naver’s 2020 Annual Report states.

Line demographics

With 86 million users nationwide, Line may be the biggest social app in Japan, but it’s popular elsewhere as well. Line is also the most popular social network in Thailand, with 21 million stories posted and 170 million daily views.

According to Naver’s 2020 Annual Report, Line counts 165 million monthly active users (MAUs) in Japan and Southeast Asia. Globally, this figure rises to 182 million MAUs. Like many other social platforms, Line is blocked in Mainland China, where WeChat reigns unbeatably with 1.2 billion monthly active users.


line app user demographics by gender, occupation, and age

Source: Line Business Directory 2021

What’s notable about Line’s demographics is how evenly things have deteriorated.

The gender distribution is split right in the middle. Usage by age group is also generally stable, decreasing to only 52% over 60 years of age. The vast majority (49.9%) of Line users work in the office.

How to use line for business

Wondering how to use the Line app for your business? Search elsewhere.

Open Official Account

There are over 3 million Official Accounts in Japan operated by businesses on Line. Official Account allows your business to send up to 500 targeted messages per month and gives you access to user trends and analytics data.

To create an official account:

1. Download the LINE Official Account app.

2. Tap Sign in with the LINE app or Sign in with email.

3. Tap create new account.

4. Fill out the form and tap . Continue.

5. Tap Create Account.

Official Accounts can be verified upon request.

Business Accounts start out for free and then switch to pay-as-you-go (by number of messages sent) or subscription models.

As of March 2021, Premium Accounts are not available in the US, Singapore and EU.

After you create a business account, be sure to promote it. People are more likely to enter a business after following it.


Popular actions after unfriending the work account include reading the message sent by the job

Source: Line Business Directory

Take advantage of profile features

An Online Official Account provides business access to a range of features.

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All Official Account profiles include:

  • Profile picture (640 x 640 pixels)
  • Cover art (1080 x 878 pixels)
  • Status (20 characters)
  • website link


line Starbucks card

Source: Liner

Businesses can also turn on location settings and set up chat tools based on their preferences so people can find stores near them.

Add-ons can be added to include digital loyalty program cards, menus or product listings, delivery or appointment options, and more.

Provide customer service and support

As a messaging app, Line has proven to be an important customer service and support channel for many businesses on the platform. Account admins have the option to turn off the chat, set up automatic replies, edit chats with tags, and keep track of customer history and preferences. Line Official Accounts can also be added to group chats.

For a less hands-on approach, Streamchat Enterprise has several customer support tools available, including chatbots. These bots can be used on Line and Facebook Messenger. They also connect directly to the Moyens I/O control panel, so you can manage all customer inquiries in one place.


Moyens I/O control panel customer support

Source: Moyens I/O

Create Promotional Tags

Stickers are a popular feature on Line and businesses can take action by creating their own stickers.

Aim to design stickers that are beautiful enough to get people to share in their chats and “friend” them on your account.


promotional stickers with minimal logo

Source: Line Label Expression Guide

Line offers stickers that are free and available for purchase. To increase their reach, businesses can choose to: Sponsored TagsAvailable for 90-180 days in the “new” and “free” categories of the Sticker Shop.

Mission Sponsored Tags As the name suggests, it is another option that requires users to complete a task to access the sticker.

Direct Stickers It is distributed exclusively by businesses and is not listed on the Sticker Store.

Access Line’s Label Expression Guide and Sponsored Label FAQs for more information.

Offer coupons and promotions

Official Accounts also have the option to create coupons that can be made available to everyone, followers or followers and friends.

Coupons appear in the promotions section of your profile and can be included in app-wide timeline posts and messages.

Run line surveys

Line allows Official Accounts to create polls that can be shared with messages, posts and other posts within the Line app.

You may want to do surveys for product feedback or learn more about your target audience on Line. As an incentive to participate, Line offers the option to provide “thank you” coupons.

Try row advertising

Line Ads gives advertisers access to a variety of formats, targeting tools and placement options across Line’s family of services.

Be strategic. With so many touchpoints available, brands can choose to reach audiences tailored to location, interests, and behaviors and place ads in highly relevant areas.

Sizzler, a Thai steakhouse, used a similar combination of audience and location targeting to increase its presence in the delivery market. When someone shows interest by visiting Sizzler’s profile or website, they receive targeted promotions and offers.


Sizzler advertising

Source: Liner

Save time managing your social media presence with Moyens I/O. From a single dashboard, you can publish and schedule posts, find relevant conversions, engage the audience, measure results, and more. Try it for free today.