Anyone who has visited or lives in Japan, has already noticed that the Japanese use an application different from WhatsApp. They use LINE instead of WhatsApp to communicate. But, why do they use this app?
In the same way that Xbox is not popular in Japan, WhatsApp is also not. Furthermore, LINE is an application developed by Japanese people. Just like the consoles from Sony and Nintendo are also developed by Japanese. The same thing is with automobiles.
You won't see Japanese people walking around in Chevrolet, Audi, Volkswagen or Ford. You will only see cars from Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Honda and Toyota. Because? Because they are Japanese brands. (don't look at it in general ...)
In short, the Japanese only use what is Japanese. It may be fear of using some foreign brand (although the Japanese also consume foreign products). It may be that the Japanese consume national brands because the products meet their requirements and preferences. It is not known.
But, in order not to lose focus, let's talk about LINE:
South Korean giant Naver was responsible for creating the LINE Application in 2011 to serve as a quick solution for communication between employees after the devastating japanese tsunami. Soon after he was released to the public and within 2 years reached 200 million users.
Why is LINE so popular in Japan?
The main feature of LINE is the ability to create groups. The Japanese use the app primarily to communicate with their internal groups. Only secondarily do they get used to connecting to an individual. This is the main attraction for the Japanese.
Okay, WhatsApp also has this ability to create groups, but foreigners in general prefer to communicate privately with the person.
Another super important factor is that you don't have to provide your phone number to add the person. You can do this using an ID or QR code. You also need to accept a friend request, avoiding receiving messages from strangers.
The interface is unsuitable. This may seem counterintuitive, but in fact, the Japanese were using smartphones, or at least networked cell phones, long before similar phones became popular elsewhere.
The interface of these early devices was navigable by pressing the thumb on a keyboard. While LINE operates on a screen, the application is insensitive to the thumb compared to other applications.
For some reason, the Japanese seem to find a sense of comfort in clumsy interfaces on their portable devices.
How did LINE become more popular than WhatsApp?
The application started out very weak. Until they started to include numerous “stamps” for purchase. Again, for inexplicable reasons, Japanese young people spend money on these stamps to “personalize” their messages.
With probably the largest number of graphic designers per capita in the history of the universe, this guarantees a constant flow of new projects, at a native cultural level.
Not to mention that the same capabilities as WhatsApp already existed on LINE before it even existed on WhatsApp.
Currently, it is believed that more than 70 million people use this application in Japan. This popularity exists in Japan even before WhatsApp became popular. In 2013, LINE and WhatsApp had a relatively equal user base.