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BBM is holding on strong despite Line’s furious user growth

Published Nov 25th, 2013 4:35PM EST
BBM Line Rivalry Analysis

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Line announced on Monday it has hit 300 million registered users worldwide. As a sign of how white-hot the messaging app market is, Line noted that it added 100 million users in the past four months alone. This is especially impressive considering that it took the app 19 months to reach its first 100 million users.

Line’s strong recent performance is anchored by its utter dominance of Japan and decent showing in a couple of other Asian markets like Taiwan and Thailand. But what has really defined Line in 2013 has been its notable Latin American success — the app has been on a remarkable winning streak in markets like Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, etc.

That is why it’s interesting to note that despite Line’s Latin American strength, BBM has dominated this region over the last month in the iOS app market. Line is the No. 4 app in Colombia while BBM is No. 2. Line is at No. 9 in Venezuela, BBM is at No. 3. Line is only at No. 36 in Argentina and BBM is at No. 2. The same applies to Africa, where BBM holds the No. 1 slot in the two key markets of South Africa and Nigeria where Line languishes outside the top 200.

Line is the No. 5 app in Germany and BBM is the No. 7 app in the U.K. These are the two biggest mobile markets of Europe and neither messaging app is a top 10 app in smaller European countries. In Asia, Line is clearly beating BBM, with top 10 positions in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia. But even there, BBM is the No. 2 app in Indonesia and No. 9 in India, putting up a fight in two of the most populous countries in the region.

It looks as though BBM is currently keeping pace remarkably well with an app that is adding 100 million new registered users every four months. That is, needless to say, good news for BlackBerry.

After launching mobile game company SpringToys tragically early in 2000, Tero Kuittinen spent eight years doing equity research at firms including Alliance Capital and Opstock. He is currently an analyst and VP of North American sales at mobile diagnostics and expense management Alekstra, and has contributed to, Forbes and Business 2.0 Magazine in addition to BGR.


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