Messenger app LINE has announced the launch of a new on-demand service called LINE MAN in Thailand, a report by The Korea Times said.
LINE MAN, launched in 2016, now offers a variety of services, including the delivery of food, convenience goods and parcels, in addition to taxi-hailing service in the country.
LINE, a subsidiary of Korea’s largest internet portal Naver, launched the messenger app in Thailand in 2012 and has now grown to 45 million monthly active users.
Jayden Kang, Chief Strategy Officer at LINE Thailand and Head of LINE MAN, said. “LINE MAN has become one of the most indispensable mobile applications in Thailand on the back of the large subscriber base of the LINE messenger app.”
LINE MAN was launched as a food delivery service by motorcycle riders before venturing into delivery of convenience goods in partnership with 7-Eleven, the delivery of documents and packages, and taxi-hailing.
Kang said the company learned that Thai people want to use various services through one app. At the same time, there is still some inconvenience in downloading multiple apps and linking credit cards to smartphones due to underdeveloped internet infrastructure before the use of smartphones in Thailand rose to a new height in 2014.
After launching LINE MAN’s beta test in May 2016, Korean developers joined forces with its outsourced Thai developers to advance the service quickly. Since 2018, Thai employees have been in charge of most of the services in accordance with its localisation strategy.
LINE MAN claimed to have partnered with around 100,000 restaurants, which accounts for nearly twice as many restaurants secured by competitors such as Grab, Gojek and Delivery Hero that also operate food delivery services in Thailand.
Meanwhile, LINE MAN’s taxi-hailing service was launched in February 2018 with the support from the Thai government.
“The Thai government previously launched the Taxi OK project that enables customers to call taxis via a mobile application. But the service has not been well-received in the country,” Kang said. “The transport ministry officials showed a friendly attitude to LINE MAN’s taxi-hailing service, thus we were able to form a partnership with the biggest taxi association in Bangkok.”
LINE MAN was initially focussed on Bangkok and later expanded to Pattaya in October. The service will be expanded into 17 more regions in Thailand in the coming years.
“LINE MAN was spun off from LINE Thailand into a separate company in September this year with an aim of becoming a unicorn in Thailand,” Kang said.
New services to be added to LINE MAN include the delivery of groceries that will be offered in partnerships with local supermarkets, which will be launched in January.
In the near future, LINE MAN also plans to provide home and air conditioner cleaning service, massage and spa booking service, and will also explore shared kitchen services.
The mission to be a well-rounded, everyday app was also shown in the launch of LINE ScaleUp last year, with an aim of developing the local startup ecosystem by offering Thai startups access to technology and mentoring.
“LINE ScaleUp offers selected local startups the chance to team up with LINE and LINE Ventures to strengthen their global footprint and achieve international funding opportunities,” explained Kang.
This article was first published on e27, on Dec 26, 2019.