《TAIPEI TIMES》 Line Taiwan aims to sell sticker-based merchandise
From left, Line Taiwan Ltd service planning head Neil Lin, senior director Rebecca Lu, general manager Roger Chen, corporate business head Susan Wang, content business head Janice Chang and commerce business head Jerry Ku pose for a photograph at the company’s annual Line Converge news conference in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Chen Ping-hung, Taipei Times
By Angelica Oung / Staff reporter
Messaging app Line hopes to cash in on the popularity of artist-created “stickers” by offering physical merchandise of fan favorites, Line Taiwan Ltd （台灣連線） said yesterday.
The company has invited top sticker creators to start their own online boutiques where fans can take their favorite sticker characters home in the form of hats, pillows, plushy toys and more, the local unit of messaging and communication services supplier Line Corp said.
Although Line is a popular app in Japan, Thailand and Indonesia, the most fanatical users are in Taiwan, where there are about 21 million accounts for a population of 23 million people. The average user in Taiwan spends more than an hour per day on the app, the company said.
A big part of the app’s popularity in Taiwan is the sticker store, which features sets of animated messages and emoticons. Stickers have become increasingly sophisticated after the company encouraged artists to create and sell their own sets on its store, it said.
The average Taiwanese user purchases 18 sticker sets per year, more than twice the average in Japan.
In the past year, the number of Taiwanese sticker creators grew from 280,000 to 450,000, and the number of sticker sets grew 84 percent to a whopping 6.7 million, the company said.
The top-selling sticker set in Taiwan for three years running is “The Haughty Smelly Cat — Troll Edition,” featuring a lazy, cynical cat with narcissistic tendencies created by a Taiwanese artist known as “Mochi Dad.”
The top 10 Taiwanese creators have generated, on average, NT$290 million （US$9.8 million） in cumulative sticker sales, the company said.
Line Taiwan yesterday also announced a bevy of upgrades and redesigns for the app, including a new karaoke function, a more personalized home page, and “special effect” stickers that trigger background effects.
Additionally, The Black Cat Knows （黑喵知情）, the first Taiwanese idol drama about an animal whisperer, is to debut on Line TV and Formosa TV on Aug. 2, the company said.
Line Taiwan said its traffic volume tripled from January to May this year, likely due to increased communication caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the company said it is eyeing growing business opportunities amid the outbreak.
As an information provider, Line could close the gap between e-commerce platforms and offline retailers by enabling “online merge offline” services.
At the moment, people are looking for as little physical contact as possible when making purchases, Line Taiwan managing director Roger Chen （陳立人） said.
For instance, the Line Spot service launched last year, which helps mobile phone users find nearby stores and promotions, has played an important role in the pandemic, Chen said, adding that the service helped people locate which pharmacies had masks available during the outbreak.
Line Spot has 7.7 million users and 27,000 registered businesses, providing services such as food delivery, he added.
Additional reporting by CNA