Thailand third largest for Line stickers

KOMSAN TORTERMVASANA

Thailand ranked as the world's third-largest market for Line sticker download revenue and is the first country where Line stickers are available from offline channels, with users able to buy Line stickers with cash at Boonterm top-up machines.

Line has 41 million users in Thailand, some 94% of mobile internet users. It follows Japan and Taiwan in Line sticker sales.

Line Thailand is working with designers and business partners in the country to make stickers available offline, said Kanop Supamanop, head of B2C business for Line Thailand.

He said total sales of Line sticker sets in Thailand this year have rapidly increased, up 15% year-on-year in the first half.

The growth was driven by the rising popularity of Line sticker downloads and improvement in payment channels, content list management and the growing number of Line sticker creators.

Mr Kanop declined to give precise details of the company's plan to launch the new channel to sell Line stickers, but he said the company is partnering with an outstanding player that can support demand from millions of customers nationwide.

Top-up machines were a key driver of Line sticker sales in the last quarter and are expected to continue having high sales next year, as the kiosks are popular among mobile phone users topping up their prepaid balances.

The price of sticker sets available at top-up machines starts at 30 baht per set.

Pongchai Amatanont, chief executive of Forth corporation, the parent company of Forth Smart Service (FSMART), told the Bangkok Post that the company is talking with Line Thailand to become a new sales channel for Line sticker sets.

As of May, FSMART houses 103,000 online top-up machines nationwide. The company achieved 100,000 units in March, two months ahead of its original target date.

Some 24 million mobile users regularly refill their prepaid service via the Boonterm machines. The average user refills the prepaid service via the machines about four times a month. Each day, 2.2 million transactions occur via the Boonterm kiosks.

Mr Kanop said a feature that sets Line apart from other instant messaging apps is stickers, a significant tool that gives users an alternative way to express themselves.

"One success of Line stickers comes from that we allow creators to present their ideas to the global market and make money," he said.

Line has more than 850,000 creators around the world. The Line creators market in Thailand is the second-largest market in the world, with some 120,000 people registered as sticker creators with Line Thailand. Since 2014, there have been around 48,000 sticker sets created by Thais.

Line stickers come in two major types: sponsored stickers (or stickers free of charge for downloading and commercial stickers comprising official marketing created by Line), and creators' stickers.

The global market value of Line sticker sales from 2014 to this year is 14.5 billion baht. Line offers more than 530,000 creator sticker sets in 230 countries and regions, generating a cumulative income of more than US$400 million for creators worldwide.

The top 10 Line sticker creators in the global market earned a cumulative income of 161 million baht per creator over three years of operation.

From 2014 to this year, the cumulative income generated by Line stickers by Thai creators is about 400 million baht.

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