• Bloomberg

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Line Corp., operator of the nation’s largest mobile messaging service, says its shopping mall application could become its biggest source of revenue, eclipsing sales from games and character stickers.

The Tokyo-based company, owned by South Korea’s Naver Corp., started the Line Mall app in December. It lets users buy and sell secondhand clothes and new products recommended by friends, Takeshi Shimamura, head of commerce and media, said in a recent interview.

He declined to give a time frame for the goal.

More than 80 percent of Line’s revenue of ¥21.2 billion for the quarter that ended in June came from sales of cute stickers and games used in its free messaging service, the company said. With 470 million users in 230 countries and the Mall app, Line is taking on billionaires Masayoshi Son and Hiroshi Mikitani, who started their own online shopping apps in 2011.

“We don’t want to be labeled as a game or messaging company,” Shimamura said the interview conducted Sept. 9. “Line should expand in new fields to make use of its infrastructure. Line Mall is the next step.”

Son’s Yahoo Japan Corp., the nation’s biggest Internet portal, had revenue of ¥23.1 billion in the three months ended June 30 from consumer businesses including e-commerce services.

Mikitani’s Rakuten Inc., operator of the country’s biggest online mall, reported ¥44.3 billion from businesses including its mall and travel sites.

Line Mall was offered to Google Inc.’s Android users in December, while the Apple iPhone version started in March. The free app has been downloaded about 2 million times, according to the company. Sellers and vendors currently pay no fees to advertise on the app.

Line is applying to list its shares in Tokyo and New York, and the company could be worth more than ¥1 trillion ($9.9 billion) in market value, people familiar with the situation said in July.

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