Line Makes Strong Debut on New York Stock Exchange

Line Makes Strong Debut on New York Stock Exchange
Photo Credit:Jon Russell@Flickr CC BY SA 2.0

What you need to know

With a strong user base in Taiwan, Japan and Thailand, the Line app is trying to break into the world market, where Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger are the dominant players.

Social media company Line Corp’s shares jumped 27% on its New York Stock Exchange debut on Thursday, and its shares in Tokyo surged almost 50% today.

Despite its relatively low popularity in the U.S., Line’s 22 million American Depositary Shares opened with an initial price of US$32.84 on Monday, and closed its first day of trading on Thursday at US$41.58.

In Tokyo, Line offered 13 million shares, which opened at JPY$4,900 (US$46.22) per share, above its offer price of JPY$3,300. Line’s initial public offering (IPO) is the largest tech IPO since October 2015. The Japan-based company is now valued at US$9.3 billion.

Line mainly generates revenue from its sale of mobile games, stickers and emojis. In 2015 it recorded losses of JPY$7.97 billion.

As of March, Line reported 218 million monthly active users, according to Reuters. Compared with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users and Facebook Messenger’s 900 million, it is a relatively small player in the social network world, and is facing problems of stagnating user growth.

While the company is trying to break into Western markets, two-thirds of its user base is in Asia, with Japan, Taiwan and Thailand as the main markets. A survey conducted in 2015 by Taipei-based Market Intelligence and Consulting Institute found Line was the most popular social networking app in Taiwan.

First Editor: J. Michael Cole
Second Editor: Edward White