LINE 10th Anniversary

Create Services for the New Normal Amid COVID-19

LINE celebrates its 10th anniversary on June 23, 2021. In this series of interviews, we sat down with twelve Global LINERs and asked them to look back on the last ten years since LINE was established. They also shared their visions for the next ten years, including how they wanted to change society.

In this article, we introduce three LINERs who create services for the new normal amid COVID-19.

Making LINE the go-to for medical services


  • Tsunoyama Shodai
  • Shodai is part of the LINE Healthcare(*) Business Planning Department. After working in business development and corporate planning at, he joined LINE in 2016 and was in charge of new business development and proposals at the Business Strategy Department. In January 2019, he established LINE Healthcare Corporation in a joint venture with M3, Inc. In December of the same year he launched a medical consultation service, and in December 2020, launched LINE Doctor, a telemedicine service.

ーーLINE was established ten years ago from around this time on June 23, 2011. What were you doing at that point in your life?


Ten years ago, I was job-hunting while studying at a university in Osaka where I grew up. I was a lousy student who didn't have a clear career goal and applied for jobs that sounded interesting. But vaguely, I've always wanted to create a business that impacts society and make the world a better place. As I studied information and communication at university, I was interested in web services and joined a company that operates review sites for food and consumer electronics, among other services, and experienced business development and corporate planning.

After that, I joined LINE because I became more passionate about creating a business that impacts society, and LINE offered an environment where I can utilize its large-scale platform, which I felt was one of its strengths.


ーーWhat do you think are LINE's strengths and what issues do you think it still needs to tackle?


One of LINE Healthcare's strengths is that, through the LINE app, it lets users easily access medical services in their daily lives. For example, users can easily receive a diagnosis online and schedule in-person visits seamlessly. It's possible to do these things on the app because LINE's platform was built as a life infrastructure. However, we are also expected to take on more social responsibility and have stronger systems.

Stakeholders like industry groups, government, and public offices have various opinions about LINE's entry into the medical industry--some are not sure whether our services will benefit them. But this is not necessarily a bad thing, because this shows that LINE has a big influence on society and that society has high expectations for it. What we need to do is to build trust without betraying such expectations. LINE has cutting-edge technologies like AI, but utilizing them is just a means to an end. The important thing is to perfect our services so that they will contribute to society and be valued by our stakeholders--patients, medical institutions, pharmacies, and medical practitioners who are our users, as well as government and public offices that establish regulations and guidelines.


ーーWhat do you want to achieve next at LINE?


Ultimately, I want to help humans satisfy one of their fundamental desires: to live long and healthy. That's why I want to close the distance between medicine and people through LINE Healthcare's services. For example, by making access to medical services easier through telemedicine, patients can consult a doctor from home without having to worry about infectious diseases. As for doctors, they may be able to detect early stages of a serious disease and prevent the discontinuation of chronic disease treatments.

In the near future, I believe we can realize a world where personalized medicine is available and medical treatments are optimized for each individual based on their medical examination records and day-to-day health. It is both rewarding and motivating to create such services that are of great significance and value to society.

In ten years, the world might be a very different place due to external factors like the current coronavirus crisis. If LINE becomes a widely used healthcare platform, then it should be one of the company's biggest assets even if a paradigm shift occurs. But first, I want to create a world where receiving medical examinations and prescriptions through LINE is the norm.

*What is LINE Healthcare?

LINE Healthcare offers a chat-based medical consultation service and LINE Doctor, a telemedicine service that utilizes LINE video call, leveraging LINE's domestic user base of 88 million MAU and's membership base of 290,000+ clinicians and 190,000+ pharmacists, as well as M3 Group's knowledge and know-how of the medical field. It aims to become the top OMO healthcare platform.

Supporting people during COVID-19 through the food delivery business


  • Zhao Xinming
  • Xinming is the COO and CPO of LINE MAN Wongnai. In 2009, he founded a software development company in Thailand and served as CTO. Following the company's acquisition by LINE, he joined LINE Thailand in 2017. He was then appointed as LINE MAN Wongnai's COO and CPO in June 2020, working on operations for LINE MAN's(*) Thailand-wide delivery services and improving/scaling O2O services. His hobbies are longboarding and playing the guitar and piano.

ーーWhat were you doing 10 years ago?


Ten years ago, I had launched a software development startup in Thailand with a few co-founders where we took on various software development/consulting projects. Among tons of failure, we slowly built a few successful products and our company began to grow. Thinking back on it, we were very lucky to have been acquired by LINE in 2017. After that, we joined LINE Thailand.


Xinming 8 years ago (front row left). With co-workers and business partners together at the time.

ーーWhat do you think has changed compared to 10 years ago before LINE?


Before LINE, communicating was quite different to now. We weren't as connected with friends online during that time. Emails and SMS were plain and dull, and you couldn't really keep a conversation going the way you can with LINE.

We also didn't have things like LINE stickers to convey our emotions. You can express subtle nuances with just one LINE sticker, so I felt that communicating became much more fun. LINE is really a service that brings people closer, and has become an integral part of our lives.

ーーWhat do you think are LINE's strengths and what issues do you think it still needs to tackle?


LINE's biggest strength is how it's possible to do so many day-to-day things on the one app. So not just messaging, but also being able to make video calls, browse all sorts of content, make payments, shop, get perks, and much more. Having everything start and finish on LINE--I think we're getting closer bit by bit to achieving "Life on LINE."

On the other hand, LINE does face strong competition from well-funded and well-connected global companies in non-messaging sectors like e-commerce and O2O. To become a super app that's used daily in various situations, we have to overcome our powerful rivals and become number one in these other sectors. I'm proud to be a part of this challenge and want to wholeheartedly face the things we still need to work on.


ーーWhat do you want to achieve next at LINE?


Wanting to be useful to the lives of everyone who uses our services is what motivates me every day. When Thailand was locked down during the COVID-19 pandemic (March to April 2020, and March to June, 2021 (ongoing)), millions of people used LINE MAN's food delivery services every month. Those food orders also became an important source of income for the restaurants as well.

We believed that it was our mission to support restaurants as they faced this crisis. So we created a task force that worked without any days off to provide nonstop support, helping restaurants join the LINE MAN platform for free.

Also, we greatly increased our delivery staff as our user numbers surged. At the same time, we clarified delivery guidelines for directly handing food orders over without any contact, making sure that customers felt safe using the service.


We created a system that allowed users worried about infection to continue using our services with peace of mind, and provided job opportunities for those who had become unemployed due to the pandemic. So I think we were able to make a really positive impact within Thailand. Seeing the contribution we've been able to make to users' lives in such an unprecedented and difficult time has given us the confidence to take on even more challenges.

As of June 2021 right now, it's still unknown when the COVID-19 situation will settle down, and difficult times are likely to remain ahead for both restaurants and users. That's why I'm proud to be supporting social infrastructure and will do everything I can to make the Thai people's lives even better.

*What is LINE MAN?
With the biggest market share in Thailand for its category, LINE MAN is a platform that provides O2O services interwoven with users' lives: food delivery from restaurants, supermarkets, and convenience stores; taxi hailing, document and parcel delivery, grocery shopping, and more. Since launching in 2016, LINE MAN has been growing steadily over the years to become an everyday app used by the Thai people.

Providing services at a low cost to benefit many people


  • Christianto,Immanuel Halim
  • Immanuel joined LINE Indonesia in 2019, where he works as a server engineer in the engineering team and leads development for LINE SIAGA(*). He's also in charge of Indonesia's leading news and curated content service, LINE TODAY, and many other products. His hobbies include playing strategy games like Age of Empires 2 and watching Japanese anime.

ーーWhat were you doing 10 years ago?


Ten years ago, I was a university student. Around that time was the beginning of the smartphone boom in Indonesia, so I had also just bought my first smartphone. LINE was the first messaging app I started using. I remember the impression it left on me: there were lots of cute stickers and communication had become so much more diverse. It was also cheap to use so I was really grateful for that as a student. By the way, there's a game called Age of Empires 2 that I've been playing for over 20 years, and even ten years ago, I was spending a lot of time on it (laughs).


Immanuel 10 years ago, at a barbeque party with his church friends.

ーーWhat do you think are LINE's strengths and what issues do you think it still needs to tackle?


I think LINE's biggest strength is how it's able to reach so many people and be beneficial to users as a social infrastructure. Originally, LINE was created because many people weren't able to easily contact their loved ones during the 2011 earthquake in Japan. So, it has its roots in trying to contribute to society by providing communication that is always available. That hasn't changed over the last ten years. Even now, we're still trying to help solve social problems like fake news and unemployment through our services.

However, there's two issues I can think of that LINE Indonesia still needs to tackle. One is that Indonesian users overwhelmingly see LINE as a messenger app. Compared to ride-hailing apps like Gojek and Grab, or e-commerce apps like Tokopedia and Shopee and other super apps, LINE feels like it has fewer features that support day-to-day activities. I think we need to add more of these if we want to shed the image that we're just a simple messenger app.

The other thing is LINE Lite(**). Even though it has a lot of potential in Indonesia, not many people know it exists. Many Indonesians still use older phones, so some find that the LINE app is too heavy for their devices. LINE Lite can run smoothly in lower spec phones, meaning it has a lot of promise here. But unfortunately, even after its release, a lot of people still don't know about it. I think we need to promote it more to users.

**LINE Lite...A lightweight version of the LINE app. Features have been reduced to create a smaller app, making it usable on lower spec devices or in areas without sufficient network infrastructure in place.


ーーWhat do you want to achieve next at LINE?


My motivation is to benefit users and society through the services I've created, so I'm striving to make them even more reliable and secure.I also want to scale services so that more people can access them at a low cost.

On a personal level, my dream is to create a set of principles for system architecture that can be applied to any service. By referring to these principles, I want to make it possible to quickly develop reliable and secure services and cut costs.With these principles, I believe that these services could then be automatically developed and maintained even when I'm not involved with them anymore, and we could provide them at a low cost to benefit many more people.


*What is LINE SIAGA?

LINE SIAGA is an official account for disaster alerts and monitoring. It sends the latest news to users when there is a magnitude 5 earthquake or stronger. Since March 2020, it has been providing up-to-date information and statistics on COVID-19 in Indonesia.


The LINE 10th Anniversary Project Team

To celebrate LINE’s tenth anniversary on June 23, 2021, we have written articles about LINERs from around the world. LINE will continue to boldly take up challenges no one else can do.