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  Line Thailand buys local firm to develop business apps 

  Line Thailand buys local firm to develop business apps 

THURSDAY, July 13, 2017
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LINE Thailand Company yesterday announced its first acquisition of a Thai software company with its purchase of DGM59, which becomes the company’s first engineering team working on developing Line’s applications and services.

DGM59 had been a partner of Line’s Business Connect since late 2015, developing customer relationship management software for business (BCRM) for several of Line’s official accounts across FMCG, automotive and finance sectors. 
DGM59 was one of more than 15 partners in Line’s Business Connect program, said Ariya Banomyong, managing director of Line Thailand. “The team shows distinguished |capability in software and solution development” in their work on Line API. 
The acquisition is in-line with the company’s strategy to strengthen its local development, intended to rapidly increase ability to scale up. Ariya said the company had sought to develop its own team, but failed to find the right mix of people within the time allocated.
“We plan to bring more local software developers to join our engineering team, hopefully to be two to three times our first group of 20 people from DGM59. We hope to help developers who join us to create the apps and services that can have a mass impact, since we have a large number of users,” said Ariya.
Around 94 per cent of Internet users in Thailand are LINE users. 
Ariya has given his first engineering team three tasks: develop new apps and services for Line users in Thailand, further develop and enhance the existing Line services, and localise apps and services from Line global to fit the needs of Thai customers.
“We really hope that our engineering team will help Thais to easily experience Line services,” said Ariya.
Line now boasts three main local Thailand services: Line TV (launched two years ago) Line Today, and Line Man. Ariya said each is in different stages of production, scale, and monetisation. Line TV and Line Today have started advertising monetisation. Line Man is now scaling up. Line Today launched just last year and has created revenue since this June. 
“Now, we have launched new services such as Line Finance, being partnered with Uber, and so on. Each is in different stages of production, scale, and monetisation. We hope to get more services in the future,” said Ariya. 
The beauty of Line’s Business Connect program is to help brands and business efficiently scale their business and services to reach many millions of people through the Line platform. 
“We are the global platform that develops local services for local people. For example, Line Man, which works with a partner, is a local service developed and available in the Thai market to ensure a local point of delivery,” said Ariya. 
There’s growth in the number of businesses, known internally as “official accounts” (OAs) using the Business Connect program. Around 15 software developers have joined the program to help develop business solutions for OAs on Line API. The advantage of using Line API is that brands can embed their services into a Line app, enabling them to easily reach mass numbers of people simultaneously. 
Xinming Zhao, co-founder of DGM59, and now lead of Line Thailand’s engineering team, said that the challenge of being part of the organisation is figuring out how to develop Line’s services to solve a business people’s “pain points” in daily life. 
“Our challenge has changed from how to get and increase the number of users, to how to get services to fit and address the needs of the massive number of users,” said Zhao.