Calls and text messages weren t going through, as telecommunication networks buckled under peak loads.
When the earthquake hit, people couldn t use their mobile phones, and in that environment, we decided that we needed to focus our efforts on building a messaging application, Chief Executive Officer Takeshi Idezawa said at a news conference last year.
For apps like Line to really survive and thrive, they have to expand quite quickly, said Felim McGrath, a London-based trends manager at market researcher GlobalWebIndex.
There is a lot of competition going on to expand to the broader Asian markets like Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam -- places where a lot of new Internet users are just getting on board and getting smartphones for the very first time.
In 2010, Line acquired Livedoor Inc., a once high-flying Japanese web portal that had fallen on hard times after its founder, Takafumi Horie, was thrown in jail for accounting fraud.
These guys have got the market in Japan locked down, said Amir Anvarzadeh, manager of Japanese equity sales at BGC Partners Inc. Outside of its core markets, its going to be a massive challenge.