It seems like IM (Instant Messaging) apps are on top of many Indians’ minds these days. If not all, a major share of smartphone users in India are users of the popular IM client, WhatsApp. People across ages and cultures are using these apps to connect with family and socialize, and this is, in a way, being seen as a user bank by other new entrants in the market. After the success of WhatsApp, the Indian market saw the release of the Hike messaging app (which was also developed in India), and more recently, WeChat.

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WhatsApp still manages to stay at the #1 spot globally in terms of users, 250 million in all. The LINE messenger, on the other hand, just crossed 180 million users globally. Most Indian smartphone users are unaware of the LINE app, so an official launch in India might well give LINE the largest user base. LINE can take cue from WeChat, a company based in Shenzhen, which has been on an extensive marketing strategy ever since it’s launch, with the TVC getting a lot of airtime during important shows.

The biggest reason behind the success of the WhatsApp messenger is the app’s lightweight nature, which means there’s not much of a load on the hardware. Given the current hardware average, which can handle much more, apps like LINE and WeChat are more resource hungry, but come with many more features as well. For example, the LINE app comes with a feature called ‘stickers’, similar to what we call emoticons. LINE users can also call other LINE users via the app, which remains free at the moment.