How LINE captured Hong Kong hearts


It is quite hard to imagine that LINE, the communications app on so many people’s phones, was only born in 2011. In 2014, LINE FRIENDS at Hysan Place and Lee Theatre, the first-ever LINE exhibition in Hong Kong showcasing its cast of super-cute characters, completely took Hong Kong by storm. Who could forget the massive lines (no pun intended) snaking through Hysan Place in the summer of 2014 when thousands of youngsters and the young-at-heart stood for hours to get their own Brown, Cony and friends at the LINE pop-up store?

A year down the road and LINE has returned to its spiritual home in Hong Kong. There are now two LINE FRIENDS stores in Hysan Place facing each other on the 2nd floor: one permanent, the other a pop-up store. Last year’s crowds convinced LINE that Hysan Place is the place to be.

“We were quite surprised,” says Sara Shim, LINE FRIENDS’ PR & Marketing manager. “We knew Brown and Cony (the bear and bunny characters) appeal to our Hong Kong customers, but what happened was amazing. Hong Kong users were willing to stand in long queues for hours just to see and touch Brown and Cony, as well as purchase the actual products of the cute LINE FRIENDS characters they know so well from the messenger. This also convinced us of the potential for a permanent store in Hong Kong.”

“To us, Hysan Place is our ‘lucky place’ because this is where our characters became very popular from last year’s promotion. Moreover, the mall is where people can approach the hottest brands when it comes to fashion and culture. After all, it sits right in the heart of Causeway Bay, a leading place for trends. We think it is the most suitable place to start our very first LINE FRIENDS store in this town.”

But with so much international competition when it comes to communications, why is LINE so popular in the first place?

“First and foremost, LINE messenger has the character stickers that people can use to express their emotions,” explains Sara. “Not only do we provide regular live chat, image and video transmissions, free voice calls and video chat, our stickers allow individuals to fully express their feelings of the moment, and indeed also their unique personalities with a great set of characters.”

And will there be more LINE characters to help us show our feelings?

“We now have nine. Apart from Brown and Cony, we also have Moon, Sally, James, Leonard, Edward, Boss and Jessica. If our fans want to see more characters, we can definitely look into this.”

“We don’t see ourselves as purely technology-driven or cute-characters driven. We will grow in both directions!”

There is simply no stopping LINE when it comes to capturing our hearts and minds! Bravo!