TOPAround Asia: Line and WeChat look to send their instant messaging west

Around Asia: Line and WeChat look to send their instant messaging west

By Alec Jordan

Asia’s popular messaging apps have set their sights on expanding overseas and are keen on taking over Europe one cute smiley at a time.

China’s WeChat and Japan’s Line, both having gained ground in the Asian region, aim to take their instant messaging service to some parts of Europe, where their presence has been slowly but surely growing.

Line, which already counts some 230 million users around the world, including 47 million in Japan alone, has promoted the app in France and Italy.

It will launch a French version of the app before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Line has drawn some 15 million users in Spain and has also forged heavyweight partnerships with football clubs FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, Coca-Cola and tennis star Rafael Nadal.

WeChat also plans to launch in France towards the end of the year.

The app—owned by China’s web giant Tencent—has already been translated into 19 languages and boasts around 500 million users, including 100 million outside of China.

Argentinian football star Lionel Messi has become the ambassador of WeChat and has filmed a commercial for the social network.

“The French of Chinese origin or the Canadians of Chinese origin, for instance, are the bridge between China and the rest of the world,” said Renaud Edouard-Baraud, head of an Asia consulting branch of BNP-Paribas bank and adviser to WeChat.

Asian social networks have appealed to users from all over the world with their charming “stickers,” making messaging more enjoyable.

By: Maesie Bertumen

Image of ad for WeChat service in Bangkok: jonrussell/Flickr