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

The Nation - - TECH / START-UP -

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 star­tups.

“The quota is aimed at fo­cus­ing on qual­ity, rather than quan­tity: we want these chat bots to ful­fil user’s needs,” Ariya sad..

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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