In Europe, social networks such as Facebook and Skype are starting to be conquered by Asian counterparts that have become extremely famous on their continent.
China’s WeChat and Japan’s Line, which let users make free calls, send instant messages and post funny short videos and photos, take attributes from Facebook, Skype and WhatsApp and roll them all together, the international press reports.
Line officials have travelled last week to France and Italy, in order to create a public relations campaign that would raise the awareness of the mobile app, which already counts some 230 million users around the world including 47 million in Japan alone. In Spain, Line opened a permanent office and has already signed partnerships with football clubs FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, brands such as Coca-Cola and tennis star Rafael Nadal.
The company will launch also a French version of the mobile app by the end of 2013.
On WeChat, users can post figures that move about dancing, blowing kisses or punching the air. Both social networks also supply a selection of “stickers” that users have to pay for.
“We are betting a lot on this new form of communication with stickers,” Sunny Kim, assistant director general of Line Europe and America, said. Line was already translated into 19 languages and has 500 million users.
China’s WeChat is also making great progresses in seducing foreign users. “The French of Chinese origin or the Canadians of Chinese origin, for instance, are the bridge between China and the rest of the world,” said Renaud Edouard-Baraud, who heads up an Asia consulting branch of the BNP-Paribas bank and advises WeChat.