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Line Messaging App to Go Public with $5.5 Billion Valuation

Corporation, maker of the popular Japanese app , has filed to go public in what could turn out to be the biggest market debut of a tech company this year.

This move follows reports of an expected IPO that first began making the rounds two years ago. Line has announced that it will seek approximately $1 billion in listings on the New York Stock Exchange and the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The offering values the company at a respectable $5.5 billion.

In a news release, Line Corporation announced that its NYSE listing is planned for July 14, with the Tokyo listing to follow on July 15.

Related: Google debuts Allo: An AI-powered client for Android and

Crucially, for Line’s main product, it announces the app’s arrival on the world stage amidst a heated battle for users with its more popular rivals , and WhatsApp, both owned by Facebook.

Despite those two competitors boasting a combined total of almost 2 billion users, Line has managed to carve out a niche in Asia. The app claims to have 218 million users, with 152 million of its total user base scattered across four countries in Asia, including its native home of Japan. Line has also successfully implemented an aggressive monetization policy, charging for its vast range of cute stickers, and . In its recently announced first quarter earnings, Line claimed to have generated more than $300 million, a 21-percent increase over the same period in the previous year.

The competition is also fierce in its biggest region, with counterparts Viber (owned by Japanese firm Rakuten), and WeChat (owned by China’s Tencent) vying for users. Line will be hoping the funding from the IPO will help it gain a foothold internationally, opening the doors to new markets.

Alongside its emoji empire, Line has kept up with its rivals by adding a raft of new features including a ride-hailing option, online payments, bots, end-to-end encryption, and spinoff apps. As is now common with most messaging platforms, it also offers voice and video calls.

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