Line messaging app mulls IPO in Japan, US

A Thai teenager uses the "Line" instant messaging app on her smartphone in Bangkok. Pic: AP.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Naver Corp. says its subsidiary Line Corp. that operates a popular mobile messaging app is considering listing its shares in Tokyo or New York.

Naver, South Korea’s largest Internet company, said Wednesday that Line messaging app could sell shares in an initial public offering in both Japan and the US.

It confirmed earlier media reports that Line has submitted an IPO application to Tokyo Stock Exchange. But Naver said the IPO decision is not final.

The move highlights the growth of Asian mobile messaging apps. As of last month, Line had more than 450 million users. It has tens of millions of users in Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Spain.

Internet giants such as Facebook and Rakuten have snapped up messenger apps to expand in the mobile market.