Line is outgrowing its Japanese origins to gather 230 million global users -- with four out of five customers outside Japan. It is also threatening to upset the dominance of other messaging applications such as WhatsApp and move into the territory of purely social networks. CEO Akira Morikawa sees Line as an ISP-like gateway portal for entertainment, communications and information. It monetizes the app through the sale of virtual stickers and by charging businesses for promotional messages, Juro Osawa writes.

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