LINE, a free calling and messaging application, has garnered 10 million users in India, only three months after it was launched in July 2013, and LINE Corporation, the Japan-based owner and operator of the app, hopes to take that number beyond 20 million by the end of the year.
“India has overtaken Japan to become the country with the third largest number of smartphone users. It is only natural to anticipate further growth of the smartphone market in India, and we believe that it will become a vital territory as LINE expands into the global marketplace,” Akira Morikawa, CEO of LINE Corporation, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Since its official launch in the country, voice calls on LINE have grown 3,200 percent, use of stickers is up 1,800 percent, and messages have grown by 700 percent since June 2013, according to a press release.
“The number of users in India has skyrocketed to an astounding 10 million, far exceeding our expectations. We haven’t experienced such rapid growth in any other countries to date,” Morikawa said.
Anticipating a surge in smartphone users in coming months, LINE Corporation has roped in popular Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif as its brand ambassador, and an advertisement campaign will be launched on Oct. 11 to coincide with India’s festival season.
According to a TechCrunch report, LINE seems to be using the same marketing strategy it applied in Spain -- where it roped in actors Michelle Jenner and Hugo Silva for its campaign -- to increase the number of users.
According to the official statement, LINE currently has about 260 million registered users, but, TechCrunch estimates that the company's registered user count might be a slightly inflated number as LINE requires users to register again if its services are being used on a different mobile device.
“So it’s likely that registered users figure is being inflated somewhat by duplicate app users, or as people upgrade from feature phones to smartphones, although it’s not possible to say by how much,” the TechCrunch report noted.
Keerthi Mohan is an IBTimes reporter covering entertainment and human interest stories.