From emoticons to Metaverse, LINE FRIENDS changes and does not change

IP business spans cycles, and is engraved in the LINE FRIENDS gene as “the same inside and outside”

“IP” is a good business, and it seems that this has become the consensus of most people.

The reality is also true, China’s IP business is developing rapidly. According to a set of data released by the Qianzhan Industry Research Institute, the annual retail sales of authorized commodities in China in 2021 will reach 110.6 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 11.5%. “Traffic IP” appears frequently. In addition to “Molly, which sells 5 million pieces a year and attracts 450 million yuan in gold”, Bing Dun Dun, who has become a “top stream” by virtue of the Winter Olympics, has also set off many popular image IPs in the cultural and tourism industry.

However, due to the old IP development model, which takes offline crane machines, experience stores and retail stores as the main sales model, most IPs have only enjoyed temporary popularity, but have not been able to gain long-term attention. Even some popular IPs, such as Changcao Yanwen, Ahri, etc., are constantly struggling on the edge of the ebb.For companies producing image IP, a sustainable development model has become particularly important.

Especially under the repeated epidemics, many IP companies that focus on offline sales have suffered a great impact. But the good news is that the epidemic has objectively promoted the onlineization of image IP companies. Thanks to this, the user group in the IP industry is also expanding rapidly, and the willingness to purchase is also greatly improved.

According to the survey on the willingness of Chinese netizens to consume for virtual people (virtual IP images) in 2022, 54.1% of Chinese netizens are willing to consume for virtual people. In addition, as Gen Z users are more accustomed to “stalking” and disseminating on social media, the Internet attributes of image IP have increased, and they have begun to prefer online shopping rather than offline stores and physical experience. The change in Bubble Mart’s online and offline sales data is a good illustration of this: in 2019, Bubble Mart’s online sales accounted for 32%, and by 2021, its online sales accounted for 41.8%. .

From emoticons to Metaverse, LINE FRIENDS changes and does not change

Seeing the new trend, LINE FRIENDS, a gold medal player in the industry, set off a self-evolution. At the beginning of 2022, the brand will vigorously promote the digital transformation strategy and deepen the localization change focusing on the millennial generation and the Z generation, and its large offline retail stores will gradually transform into lighter vending machines. The popular images of the company frequently appear in live broadcast rooms, landmark attractions, Internet celebrity hotels, Alipay apps and other daily life scenes that are closer to consumers.

In fact, the closure of offline stores is not out of consideration for performance. LINE FRIENDS has seen changes in the market and hopes to be able to base itself on the present and plan for the future . Judging from its financial data last year, LINE FRIENDS China could have chosen a more moderate transformation route. The financial report shows thatits total IP transaction volume last year reached about 833 million US dollars. Since the company launched its global IP business in 2016, the compound annual growth rate of the total IP transaction value has been about 28% .

But LINE FRIENDS China is very determined to completely switch to online. This is partly related to the good growth of online business. Compared with 2019, LINE FRIENDS’ online sales business will increase by 31% in 2021.

From this point of view, LINE FRIENDS is starting a new journey.

Faucet turn

Also in the Asia-Pacific economic and cultural circle, China has always been an important market for LINE FRIENDS. Similar to the development path of all retail brands, LINE FRIENDS first opened offline retail stores in Shanghai, China. The level of sensation at that time also created a phenomenon-level hot miracle many times. When the second LINE FRIENDS offline store in Shanghai opened on Huaihai Road, the daily passenger flow once reached 100,000.

From emoticons to Metaverse, LINE FRIENDS changes and does not change

The LINE FRIENDS offline experience store once outlined the standard paradigm for the first generation of Internet celebrities to check in for Chinese young people: huge brown bears, cute dolls that are taller than others, and various cartoon cultural and creative products, which can be played, eaten, drunk and bought. The most important thing is that every corner can take beautiful photos.

Then, as young Chinese consumers’ consumption habits gradually shifted to online, many players, including LINE FRIENDS, began to actively explore online transformation. In addition, the scale of China’s IP market is also expanding, and there is huge development potential in the future, especially for high-quality IP. LINE FRIENDS, as the earliest entrants and promoters of the global cultural entrepreneurship industry To be “cute and evergreen”, it is even more necessary to actively participate in the wave of change.

Talking about the reasons behind the digital transformation decision, Li Yiyong, general manager of LINE FRIENDS Greater China, said frankly: “For LINE FRIENDS, the digital transformation of the IP licensing industry is not a multiple-choice question, but a major issue and an important opportunity given by the times. But when almost When all companies are laying out the digital track, what we should think about is how to activate the influence of IP and stand out in the fiercely competitive stock market.”

Looking at the digital transformation of LINE FRIENDS China, there are overall considerations behind the drastic reform.The adjustment of the organizational structure provides a good soil for its overall change. Establish the China Pan-Entertainment Business Unit as the core of the overall digital strategy and the Chinese market. This department will play the role of LINE FRIENDS China IP original R&D center as a radiation belt and a hub link, so as to better integrate the group’s global high-quality resources, empower the development of the second growth curve of the local market, expand content forms, enrich marketing methods, and innovate development models. The three-force collaboration is the starting point to lay out the digital asset format and accelerate the company’s transformation and localization development process.

From emoticons to Metaverse, LINE FRIENDS changes and does not change

In terms of gameplay, in the future, LINE FRIENDS will develop content-centered digital assets and develop a new digital IP format. In terms of content creation, LINE FRIENDS will adopt a cross-industry alliance to create differentiated and high-quality local IP content. Currently, in the global field, LINE FRIENDS has initially tested the waters and cooperated with high-quality partners to create interesting and creative digital content such as videos, animations and games.Previously, LINE FRIENDS had announced that it would establish a strategic partnership with streaming entertainment service provider Netflix and global mobile game developers SUPERCELL and NEXON. In the future, LINE FRIENDS will also cooperate with emerging 3D content production studios to develop virtual IP and content ecology, and Its business further extends to the field of digital IP entertainment. The customized high-quality content for the Chinese market is also in full swing. It is reported that in the future, LINE FRIENDS will cooperate with the popular Guoman IP platform Kuaikankone, and the comics created by Lianchuang are also planned to be serialized this summer.

From emoticons to Metaverse, LINE FRIENDS changes and does not change

From emoticons to Metaverse, LINE FRIENDS changes and does not change

In addition, under the virtualized digital wave of national interaction, LINE FRIENDS has already taken a key step in leading the industry in the birthday party of SALLY Metaverse Breaking Shell Day, which has been widely circulated in the circle of friends this year, and released it together with Tencent Magic Core APP. digital collection. With the help of the digital content asset set “content + technology + IP”, the “intangible” emotional value of IP is transformed into “tangible” digital assets, opening up new business and new social scenarios that blend virtual and real, and officially take the position of a pathfinder. Start the digital ecological layout of the IP industry. In the exploration of the form of digital collections, LINE FRIENDS still adheres to the “moe wave” to the end, and the cross-border trend artist FOON WONG jointly created the “WHAT IF” co-branded digital avatar. The multi-dimensional discussion has truly achieved “cute” to connect all things, and “cute” to break the circle.

From emoticons to Metaverse, LINE FRIENDS changes and does not change

In terms of channels, under the new market context of “experience economy” and “fast consumption”, the needs of Chinese consumers continue to iteratively evolve. Official JD store, LINE FRIENDS creator WeChat custom applet and other consumer links. In the context of the prevalence of the “value economy”, the consumption patterns of the younger generation have undergone great changes. LINE FRIENDS has adjusted its authorized stores and directly-operated stores to unmanned retail terminal blind pumping machines, and pop-up stores with lighter weight. The play store model conforms to the contemporary consumption trend with a new model of “interesting e-commerce + light entity” that is both convenient and interesting, and touches consumers’ deeper emotional identity, such as cooperating with Alipay, deploying virtual anchors, virtual Studio.

The foundation of change

Compared with the hesitant and slow transformation of many big brands, the change of LINE FRIENDS is not incomplete.

An important reason for its strong confidence lies in the IP matrix and inventory it has accumulated over the years, which not only requires it to produce a large amount of image IP and accumulate many designer resources, but also requires the ability to integrate all aspects of the industry chain.

As a promoter of the global creative and cultural industry, LINE FRIENDS has a rich IP brand matrix and original IP incubation capabilities. From its IP image operation model, you may have a glimpse of its underlying logic: perhaps in the eyes of LINE FRIENDS, the IP industry has never been regarded as a pure commercial harvesting market .

From emoticons to Metaverse, LINE FRIENDS changes and does not change

In fact, apart from the core characters such as Brown Bear, Connie Rabbit, Sally, Chuco, Bun Man, James, Edward, Jessica, Minister, Fat Friends and Frog Rio, they are popular all over the world. Since then, LINE FRIENDS has always been based on local global insights, fissioned according to local conditions, and incubated a new image IP that is favored by local consumers. For example, ROY 6, which is loved by millennials and Generation Z. ROY6 is a super cute cartoon series jointly created by LINE FRIENDS and China’s new generation of youth idol and original singer Wang Yuan. It is the first local original IP operated by a Chinese team. The excellent design ability of LINE FRIENDS and Wang Yuan’s positive energy are mutually Created under the collision. From the initial creative sketches to the specific settings of the cartoon characters, Wang Yuan has integrated his optimism and youthful vitality into the whole process of creating this group of cartoon characters. The warm-hearted cartoon characters have brought courage, hope and love to fans. . LINE FRIENDS also relies on its outstanding creative strength, from illustrations, emoticons, short videos to animations, to continue to make efforts at the content level, and the character image has been continuously optimized and evolved after its own review and fan feedback for more than three years.

From emoticons to Metaverse, LINE FRIENDS changes and does not change

From emoticons to Metaverse, LINE FRIENDS changes and does not change

With the popularity of “live e-commerce” in the Chinese market, LINE FRIENDS has joined hands with well-known fashion anchor Li Jiaqi to launch the IP series NEVER’S FAMILY Naiva family, which is based on the famous fashion anchor Li Jiaqi’s adorable Naiva family, to create 5 warm and lovely , The characters with different personalities have been closely interacting with consumers online and offline since the IP was released, which is favored by the market. At present, the Weibo topic “Neva Family Official Debut” has over 300 million views and over 140,000 discussions. The Weibo account “Neva Family” has over 480,000 followers.

The popularity of its popular IP matrix has not diminished. Why did LINE FRIENDS choose to “walk the main road while creating a new road” and create local IP customized for the market segment? Li Yiyong, general manager of LINE FRIENDS Greater China, gave a more specific interpretation: “The biggest difference between us and other IP peers is that the creation of LINE FRIENDS IP image is not limited to the independent operation of IP companies. In addition to the traditional licensing model, we We look forward to working with our partners to integrate and create together, write a common story that belongs to each other, and jointly develop a new business model with IP as the core. While pursuing localization, we pay more attention to listening to and insight into the voices of Chinese consumers, so as to create a real Chinese market. The super IP of the heart .

Talking about the operation and incubation of its IP in the future, Mr. Li Yiyong also clarified the development direction: “In addition to the creation of the original IP image, LINE FRIENDS will continue to broaden the imagination boundary of the IP image, actively cooperate with partners from different industries, and continue to enrich the IP image. Diversity and sense of experience. In the future, more content IPs and art IPs will be unveiled one after another to meet the needs of people with different interest anchors in the Chinese market, which is also one of the reasons for the establishment of the Pan-Entertainment Division.” For the current LINE FRIENDS also has a longer-term layout: “In the future, LINE FRIENDS will develop a decentralized IP image in the virtual digital world, and anyone can generate an independent IP image that is exclusive to him to create, hold and build value. , to further extend its business to the field of Metaverse digital IP entertainment, and lead the industry from the IP2.0 era to officially enter the IP3.0 digital new era with a pioneering attitude that breaks through the imagination.”

The international influence generated by its IP operations over the years has laid a strong bargaining chip and confidence for LINE FRIENDS’ transformation. As the originator of the “cute economy”, LINE FRIENDS has accumulated a large number of successful cases and the freedom of the joint creation model during the development process, which has laid a solid methodology for LINE FRIENDS to transform and move towards the future. Compared with the eagerness of new players to cross the river by feeling the stones, the open and collaborative LINE FRIENDS is more comfortable. The diversified high-quality content based on the continuous generation of IP images has greatly broken the boundaries of the industry imagination, and the experience scenes deeply penetrate into commodities, retail, animation, games, cafes and hotels. The business covers retail and licensing. LINE FRIENDS’ worldview has become inevitable.

From emoticons to Metaverse, LINE FRIENDS changes and does not change

From emoticons to Metaverse, LINE FRIENDS changes and does not change

From emoticons to Metaverse, LINE FRIENDS changes and does not change

Online, in November 2021, LINE FRIENDS opened its first virtual store on HAEGIN’s mobile social game “PLAY TOGETHER”.The virtual store visualizes the “LINE FRIENDS Flagship Store” in 3D, where consumers can purchase popular IP digital products, including original characters, BT21, TRUZ, and more. They can also enjoy all the virtual store experiences that digital playgrounds have to offer, including virtual performance halls, trampoline playgrounds, popcorn shops, and more.Offline, LINE FRIENDS has launched a new fashion customization platform LINE FRIENDS creator globally (except Europe). Through this platform, consumers can customize and purchase their own LINE FRIENDS products according to their own preferences.

After the change, those unchanged

Since the “14th Five-Year Plan” and the outline of the 2035 vision and goals clearly stated “accelerate digital development and build a digital China”, digitalization has become a new engine for high-quality economic development in China. In this context, all industries are exploring how to take advantage of the wind and accelerate their entry into the game to seize the high ground and win development opportunities. With its own value empowerment, imagination space and immersive entertainment value, the IP industry is more suitable for the huge chessboard of digital transformation. Compared with traditional IP, digital IP, as an important embodiment of modern digital media technology, often covers different presentation methods such as music, video, and text, and has inherent strong interactive characteristics, so it has stronger communication power. Since the birth of digital IP is accompanied by the rise of the Internet, the constraints of time and space are greatly weakened, and it is easier to obtain long-term benefits with the help of the long tail effect.

From emoticons to Metaverse, LINE FRIENDS changes and does not change

Living in the era and the market is undergoing drastic changes, how to keep the original intention while changing with the trend, break the barriers between traditional IP and digital IP to be more complementary and empowering, while further expanding the content and gameplay among the fan groups, Continue the cultural connotation of IP itself? Talking about the fundamental foundation of LINE FRIENDS, Li Yiyong, general manager of LINE FRIENDS Greater China, gave a frank and sincere answer: “The IP image represents a kind of cultural heritage, a cornerstone of value that resonates with the crowd, and should not be easily changed with the flow. However, the performance of the IP image on the market side, especially in the face of commercial operation, requires constant changes and attempts to find new models based on the characteristics of the local market and the consumption needs of young people. ” 

Perhaps IP itself does not have value. It is precisely because it gives people a carrier of spiritual sustenance and carries social emotional value that it can arouse the resonance between people, and therefore has the value of cultural inheritance. If IP just blindly follows the trend, it will easily destroy the sense of trust between users and IP, lose core audiences, and a large number of once popular IPs will eventually decline based on this. LINE FRIENDS’s internal drive for innovation, world-renowned content creation capabilities, and long-term commitment to the Chinese market may have become the most unshakable competitiveness of this “cute economic originator” who has been in China for 7 years. From the current point of view, the transformation road that LINE FRIENDS vigorously promotes based on its own IP resources, channel resources, and integration capabilities may lead it to truly advance from the “originator of the cute economy” into a company that keeps pace with the times in the near future. “Digital Pioneers”.

Under the prevailing Internet culture and many social emotions such as “working as a worker” and “working hard for fitness” are constantly being amplified, IP companies also need to continue to create equal spiritual value for users. , may be a new road belonging to IP.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/from-emoticons-to-metaverse-line-friends-changes-and-does-not-change/
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