Chinese mobile search service Wandoujia announced today it has partnered with LINE, which will oversee the services and marketing activities of the Korean messaging app in Chinese mainland.
In this cooperation, Wandoujia will provide technical supports to LINE’s services in China and the two companies will strengthen the localized features of LINE by integrating the brands and platform resources of both parties.
LINE entered Chinese market in 2012 through a one-year contract with Qihoo 360, which is responsible for promotion and operation of LINE’s services in local market. After announcing this tie-up, LINE expanded its cooperation with other partners like Baidu, 91, Alibaba.
It is not surprising for us to see the cooperation between LINE and Wandoujia, since the two parties has already kicked off partnership in September last year. Back then, LINE said they will not suspend cooperation with Qihoo 360, which is still an important, but not sole partner of LINE in China.
The main reason that triggered speculations on suspension of cooperation between Qihoo 360 and LINE is that the former cannot bring traffic and users as LINE has expected. On the other hand, Wandoujia, as an app distribution platform, shares similar target users with LINE.
To tap Chinese market, LINE also cooperated with Uniqlo, a Japanese casual wear brand also popular in China.
Claiming more than 400 million users globally, LINE recorded $335 million of revenue in 2013, of which 60% from gaming, 20% from paid emoticons, and 20% from official marketing accounts and brand sponsors, according to fiscal report of the company. As the first Asian messaging app that successfully monetized a large user base from paid emoticons, the market valuation of LINE stands at $14.9 billion.