(Bloomberg)Line, an instant messaging app run by the owner of South Korea's biggest Internet search engine, registered 100 million users since the start of operations in June 2011, almost triple the pace of growth for Facebook.
Subscribers to the service, which allows users to customize messages with graphic images called "stickers", send photos and make free calls, climbed from about 11 million in December 2011, operator NHN Corp. (035420) said in a statement on its website Jan. 18. Line is available for download for free on smartphones running Google Inc. (GOOG)'s Android and Apple Inc. (AAPL)'s iOS software and on personal computers.
The application, which counts Snoop Dogg among its users, reached the 100 million milestone in 19 months, versus 49 months for Twitter Inc.'s service and 54 months for Facebook's social network, NHN said. Growth was helped by the increasing popularity of smartphones, shipments of which are estimated by researcher IDC to have climbed 45 percent last year.
Line also attracted company users ranging from Coca Cola Co. and Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan Ltd. to Panasonic Corp. and Walt Disney Co., according to the application's listings. The Japanese Prime Minister's Office drew 1 million followers since registering in October, compared with the 124,857 it has on Twitter.