News Column

Line, WeChat growing locally

September 3, 2014

By Suchit Leesa-nguansuk, Bangkok Post, Thailand

Sept. 03--Two mobile messaging giants, Japan's Line and China's WeChat, are gearing up for aggressive expansion in the Thai market to take advantage of booming mobile and e-shopping business.

Mobile games and internet shopping are gaining momentum in Thailand, thanks to greater availability of third-generation wireless broadband service and the proliferation of smartphones.

The market for mobile messaging apps is saturated with 40-50 million users because of fierce competition.

Line alone has 29 million users in Thailand, followed by WeChat with an undisclosed figure.

Krittee Manoleehagul, chief executive of WeChat (Thailand), a unit of Tencent Online (Thailand), said the company expects its user base in Thailand to rise by up to 70% this year.

He said 80% of smartphone users in Thailand have downloaded mobile chat apps.

Thai people spend an average of 6.36 hours a day on their smartphones, with half the total spent on messaging apps, followed by email, shopping, games and content downloads.

As of June 2014, WeChat had 438 million active users globally, an increase of 57% from the year-earlier period.

GlobalWebIndex, a market research firm, said WeChat was the world's fastest-growing messaging app in the first quarter of this year, surging 1,098% from the same period in 2013.

In Thailand, WeChat grew by 191% in the first quarter.

In order to increase the user base here, WeChat is introducing a campaign inviting 15 local artists to design stickers.

Users can download the stickers free of charge from WeChat's sticker gallery.

Mr Krittee said the artists have a chance to gain public recognition in international markets through WeChat's global platform.

"We believe providing free stickers will significantly increase our user base with more adult users," he said.

WeChat's core revenue source in Thailand is selling game items.

For its part, Line reported 29 million users in Thailand as of Aug 31. Globally it had 490 million.

The company expects to reach 30 million users in Thailand this year, up from 18 million in 2013.

Line Thailand sees 60% of its revenue stemming from games this year.

Related search: telecommunications, Line, WeChat, mobile


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Source: Bangkok Post (Thailand)

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