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Fresh from its dual IPO last month, mobile messaging giant Line is finally making it easier for new users to sign up for an account on a device other than a mobile phone.
A subsidiary of South Korea’s biggest web operators, Naver Corp, Line rose to prominence for its WhatsApp-style mobile messaging app that claims more than 200 million users in 200 countries — most of those across a handful of Asian countries — including its native Japan. The company has hitherto restricted new signups to its mobile phone app, though once an account has been created, users could sign in through a desktop computer or tablet.
A minor pain point for Line has been onboarding new users, so the Japan-based tech company’s announcement that new accounts can now be set up on Windows and Mac machines, as well as tablets, could go some way toward easing that friction.
This is particularly pertinent given that the company went public last month with a dual-IPO on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Tokyo Stock Exchange. A little more than a month later, Line’s stock remains roughly flat from its inaugural trading price of $42, and the company is clearly seeking to increase traction internationally, including in the U.S., where it has struggled to gain mindshare.
The timing of today’s announcement is also notable given yesterday’s news that WhatsApp will be getting a little cozier with parent company Facebook and begin pushing users to share more data with the social network — including phone numbers. While that move alone is unlikely to cause a mass exodus from WhatsApp, the fact that a new messaging app is striving to gain users in a market that’s growing weary of Facebook’s domination could give some people cause to look elsewhere.
Ahead of its IPO last month, Line also announced that it was introducing end-to-end encryption by default for all users.
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