Next up: ‘Chat bots’ in LINE set to replace apps


LINE recently released the new LINE API for 100 Thai start-ups, in a move to scale new services and innovations, and support the Thai start-up ecosystem.

This is an opportunity for Thai start-ups to transform their existing services or apps, and integrate them onto the LINE platform. The result would be less friction for users, who would not have to download yet another application, but instead would be able to access that service while they are already on LINE.

Ariya Banomyong, managing director of LINE Thailand said that with 2.2 million to 2.6 million apps now in app stores, creating a new app that will be widely used had become increasingly difficult and costly.

“‘How many apps do you use every day?'” is a question I ask every week of clients, partners, users, anyone around me, and five apps is the highest number I get. You can see the gap, and the pain point LINE is trying to solve,” said Ariya.

He also added that with 94 per cent of LINE users already spending 70 minutes a day on the app, it makes sense to develop “chat bots”, perhaps best though of as an app within LINE.

The new LINE API enables the development of new services through LINE accounts. LINE is offering 100 LINE APIs to Thai start-ups.

“The quota is aimed at focusing on quality, rather than quantity: we want these chat bots to fulfil user’s needs,” Ariya said. There is also a need to educate Thai users about chat bots, which are a new way, a new interface, to access and use a service.

Chat bots avoid the need to download another app. Each downloaded app not only “bloats” the user’s smartphone, but also consumes a lot of space. The LINE API is free of charge for one year for this batch of 100 start-ups. Start-ups would still need to subscribe to the LINE Pro plan at Bt6,888 per month.


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