Messaging app Line sees shares surge 31% in Tokyo debut

Line app Image copyright AP

Shares of messaging app Line, popular in Japan, have surged by 31% in its Tokyo trading debut, making it the biggest technology listing of the year.

The stock closed at 4,345 yen ($41; £31), well above the offer price of 3,300 yen.

It also did well in the US, rising by 26.6% in its New York trading debut to close at $41.58 on Thursday.

Line, the most popular messaging app in Japan and Thailand, raised more than $1.1bn (£819m) in its dual listing.

The company set its flotation price at 3,300 yen ($33; £25) per share which was the top end of the expected range.

The shares jumped to 5,000 yen in early trading.

Line: A guide to Japan's messenger giant

Line has about 218 million monthly active users and is famous for selling cute virtual stickers, games and various merchandise.

It is wholly owned by South Korea's Naver Corporation, which is looking to raise funds to expand into more Western markets.

However, analysts say the app faces stiff competition from other messaging services provided by Facebook and Google.

In Japan, Line has a strong following and claims more users than Facebook or Twitter. However, in markets such as South Korea, it lags far behind rival app Kakao Talk, and it is blocked in China.

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