LINE Fukuoka Celebrates Its Seventh Anniversary! Our seven year path of challenging “Japan from Fukuoka” as a LINE regional office

Employee number increase of 600%, a 1,400% increase in departments,
and a full toolbox for offering services from planning to operations.
LINE Fukuoka seeks to challenge “The World from Fukuoka” in its eighth year
as LINE’s second domestic base.

LINE Fukuoka Corporation (“LINE Fukuoka”; Location: Hakata Ward, Fukuoka; Representative Director, President, and Chief Executive Officer: Noritaka Ochiai) is pleased to announce that it celebrated its seventh anniversary on November 18, 2020.

LINE Fukuoka was established on November 18, 2013 as the LINE Group’s second domestic base with a desire to cultivate LINE services together with Fukuoka residents and contribute to the city, as well as the following two missions.

1. From a BCP perspective: Avoid the risk of over-concentrating business in Tokyo, and secure talent through business expansion.
2. From a service perspective: Promote growth of LINE services by leveraging a physical proximity to residents, the local government, and private businesses.

Together with the growth of LINE and its related services, the role and functionality of LINE Fukuoka changes every day.

Since being established as an office that primarily handled operations and technology, LINE Fukuoka has taken on the added responsibilities of design, planning, marketing, and corporate activities, evolving into a location that can do everything from service ideation to post-release operation. Now, even if there’s an emergency in the Tokyo metropolitan area, LINE services are strengthened and can continue to be offered as a line infrastructure.

Over 1,000 employees who have gathered from all over the world continue to challenge themselves to create value at a top global level, in departments that have grown by over 1,400% since our company was established.

In our LINE SMART CITY FOR FUKUOKA co-creation initiatives with residents, the local government, and private businesses, we have undertaken projects to support the daily lives of Fukuoka City residents by utilizing LINE technology to make the city a more affluent place and create new value, the primary of which is the Fukuoka City LINE Official Account which has more than 1.74 million registered friends.

Additionally, the LINE SMART CITY GovTech Program¹ launched nationwide, in order to create a structure for sharing our development knowledge from the Fukuoka City LINE Official Account with other local governments that are experience the same issues, with the aim of improving the developer experience for governments all across Japan.
¹https://linefukuoka.co.jp/ja/project/smartcityproject/govtech/ (Sorry, only available in Japanese)

Seven years have passed since LINE Fukuoka embarked on its journey as LINE’s second domestic base and LINE-envisioned “regional office” to support the LINE service from Fukuoka, to root itself in the region, and create and cultivate services together with the city’s residents.

We are truly grateful to all of our users, and the local governments and private businesses that have supported us up to now.

Hereafter, the LINE Group will complete its business integration with the Z Holdings Corporation to begin our new path striving to be Japan and Asia’s leading AI technology company. As LINE Fukuoka enters into its eighth year, we will continue to support and cultivate the growth of LINE services from Fukuoka as well, and spread our wings to continue challenging “the world from Fukuoka” and create “WOW = NO. 1” services together with Fukuoka residents.

Thank you once again.

<A Message from Noritaka Ochiai – LINE Fukuoka Corporation Representative Director, President, and CEO>
We are able to celebrate our seventh anniversary as a company today thanks to the support we have received from all of our users, as well as the Fukuoka City government and our business partners. I am sincerely grateful to all of you.

LINE Fukuoka was established in 2013 in order to support LINE services. At the time we were unsure if people would accept a new company, but to create a LINE organization in Fukuoka, we had the resolve to create a company that would be loved and accepted by the city’s residents. That resolve hasn’t changed to this day.
We were able to make many of the challenges we took on a reality precisely because our company is in Fukuoka.

Moving forward, we will continue to challenge the world together with residents from here in Fukuoka, and look forward to working with you.

<A Message from Takeshi Idezawa – LINE Corporation Representative Director, President, and CEO>
LINE Fukuoka celebrates its 7th anniversary on November 18, 2020. The company was established with the expectation that it would become a presence that promotes the growth of LINE services together with Tokyo as the LINE Group’s second domestic base.

Over the past seven years, LINE Fukuoka has approached that step by step. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all of the users that support our services, and everyone involved that have worked on them.

Thank you very much.

■ A series of articles discussing the past and future of each function LINE Fukuoka serves is available on the blog on our corporate site. You can find the articles here:

http://lin.ee/eR12dsl/prmt

[LINE Fukuoka’s Seven Year Journey]
1. Organizational changes
・Employee growth: From 180 members at establishment to 1074. (600% growth) ¹
¹As of January 2020

・Department growth: From 18 departments at establishment to 259. (1,400% growth) ²
LINE Fukuoka was equipped for service operations and some engineering functions when it was established, and currently serves five functions: Operations, Technology, Design, Planning/Marketing, and Corporate Activities.
²As of November 2020

2. Employee attributes
・Ratio of U/I-turner employees: 45% (Among them, 18% are I-turners who relocated to Fukuoka from other area of Japan or abroad)
Our employees have come from all over Japan and the world, not just those who lived in Kyushu before joining the company, with a desire to challenge themselves in Fukuoka City.

Reference: U/I-turner interviews (Sorry, only available in Japanese) 
http://linefukuoka.blog.jp/tag/%23UI%E3%82%BF%E3%83%BC%E3%83%B3

・Ratios of employees from overseas: 11% ³
LINE Fukuoka has an environment rich in diversity with employees hailing from 24 countries⁴ worldwide, including countries throughout Asia (e.g. Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia), the US, Peru, the UK, France, the Netherlands, and Australia.

Reference: LINE Fukuoka support for employees from overseas
http://linefukuoka.blog.jp/archives/81552503_culture_welfare_corporate_interview.html
³,⁴As of January 2020

3. Award history
・February 2018 – The Fukuoka City LINE Official Account receives an honorable mention at the 2017 ICT Regional Revitalization Awards (Hosted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications)
・June 2019 – Ranked No. 1 in “The best workplaces selected in Fukuoka 2019” (Hosted by Randstad Holding) 
・November 2020 – The Fukuoka City LINE Official Account receives the “2020 Good Design Award” (Hosted by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion)

4. Regional initiatives
① Opening
・April 2014 – Opening event at Fukuoka City Hall Western Fureai Plaza
・May 2014 – The “LINE Fukuoka has Arrived” commercial is filmed
・May 2014 – Large-scale company information event for recruitment held at Acros Fukuoka
・September 2014 – Fan meeting held at the plaza in front of Hakata Station

LINE Fukuoka announced the launch of full-scale operation at an opening event that over 1,000 Fukuoka City LINE users participated in just 48 hours after a single message was sent out stating that “LINE Fukuoka has arrived.”

The next month, the company held a large-scale company information session for recruitment over two days, with over 1,000 participants. Just six months later, over 200 new faces joined LINE Fukuoka.In September, we held a fan meeting, which had about 2,000 participants, where we expressed our gratitude for a smooth journey since our establishment.

② Cultivating future generations
・2015 – LINE Fukuoka holds the “Cultivating Creative Talent” lecture at the Kyushu Institute of Technology
・2015 – LINE Fukuoka participates in the “GoodDay Presents FUKUOKA WORKSHOP FESTIVAL”
・2016 – LINE Fukuoka participates in the “Tenjin Career Day” event held by Iwataya
・2017 – LINE Fukuoka holds an event for students aiming to enter the game industry
・2019 – LINE Fukuoka sponsors the “Future of Fukuoka Sports Festivals” event at Kyushu University Graduate School
・2019 – Hackathon held at Kyushu University aiming to “end on-campus inconvenience”
・From 2019 – Smart City Fukuoka Meetup for University students
・2020 – QREC lecture at Kyushu University

Young people come to Fukuoka from all over Western Japan for the city’s ample educational institutions.LINE Fukuoka considered how to give something back to the students who will be our future leaders in the technology, creative, and planning/marketing fields, and held these events.

③FUKUOKA MARATHON
LINE Fukuoka has served as the Official Communication Partner for the marathon since 2017.
We have implemented various measures utilizing LINE technology to ensure smooth communication between everyone involved in the event including runners, volunteers, and roadside supporters, as well as spreading the joy and reward of supporting and encouraging runners, not just the joy of running, which is a big part of the event.

Reference: Marathon race reports (Sorry, only available in Japanese)
・2017: http://linefukuoka.blog.jp/archives/73156569.html
・2018: http://linefukuoka.blog.jp/archives/77514709.html
・2019: http://linefukuoka.blog.jp/archives/80580421.html
・2020 – LINE Fukuoka creates the “#福岡マラソンつなぐプロジェクト” in anticipation of the 2021 marathon: https://linefukuoka.co.jp/ja/pr/news/2020/110615 (Sorry, only available in Japanese)

④ Start-up company support
LINE Fukuoka supports the start-up companies that have ideas for a brighter future by serving as a sponsor to Fukuoka City’s start-up hub, Fukuoka Growth Next, since 2019 as well as holding workshops for engineers, and participating in discussion events and more to encourage the start-up mindset.

Reference: “Beyond Coronavirus: Supporting the World from Fukuoka – Cheer up! Start up!” event report (Sorry, only available in Japanese)
http://linefukuoka.blog.jp/archives/20200708_culture_management_report.html

⑤ LINE SMART CITY
Starting with Fukuoka City, we have been collaborating with local governments and private businesses as well as organizations to create a more future-oriented “Smart City.”

The origin of the Smart City project lies in “issues residents have in daily life.” We are aiming to create a Civic Smart City that is focused on finding sustainable solutions and driven by proactive civic participation.

Reference: LINE SMART CITY FOR FUKUOKA Official Homepage
https://linefukuoka.co.jp/en/project/smartcityproject/#casestudy

<LINE Fukuoka’s initiatives with Fukuoka City>
LINE Fukuoka and Fukuoka City concluded an Information Provision Fortification Tie-up Agreement in 2016, and a Comprehensive Partnership Agreement on Community Collaboration Projects in 2018 to utilize LINE and offer features that support daily life.

The Fukuoka City LINE Official Account was launched in 2017 and currently has 1.74 million registered friends. Each category from disaster prevention-related information (118,000 users) and garbage disposal-related information (81,000 users), to school-related information (48,000 users) is used by many Fukuoka City residents. (As of October 2020)

Additionally, the LINE SMART CITY GovTech Program launched nationwide in October 2020, in order to create a structure for sharing our development knowledge from the Fukuoka City LINE Official Account with other local governments that are experience the same issues.

<Co-creation with Private Businesses>
LINE Fukuoka is pursuing collaboration with private businesses and organizations to enrich the lives of residents and make daily life more convenient through LINE.

You can learn more about our most recent initiaves here:
・The full-scale launch of “Konoha * Smart Order” for ordering, payment, and pickup notifications to avoid close contact in the food court
https://linefukuoka.co.jp/en/pr/news/2020/051810
・Congestion information for Nishitetsu rail and buses delivered through a dedicated LINE Official Account
https://linefukuoka.co.jp/en/pr/news/2020/051915
・Congestion information delivery through a LINE Official Account for all Bank of Fukuoka branches
https://linefukuoka.co.jp/en/pr/news/2020/061110

In October 2020, LINE Fukuoka formed the Fukuoka Smart City Community joint venture with nine companies in different fields representing Fukuoka City, welcoming Fukuoka City as an observer.Through these co-creation projects, we are aiming to transform Fukuoka City into a Smart City that solves issues faster than anywhere else in Japan, and one that will be chosen for 100 years to come.

To accomplish this, we’re not limiting ourselves to working with just residents, local governments, and private businesses, but anyone who has the desire and is able to mutually work towards solving issues promptly.

Reference: Establishment of the “Fukuoka Smart City Community” (Sorry, only available in Japanese)
https://linefukuoka.co.jp/ja/pr/news/2020/101413

■Company overview
LINE Fukuoka Corporation
Company name: LINE Fukuoka Corporation
Location: JRJP Hakata Bldg. 12F, 8-1 Hakataekichuogai, Hakata Ward, Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture
Representative: Noritaka Ochiai, Representative Director, President, and CEO
Capital: JPY 490 million (As of January 2018)
Established: November 18, 2013
Business activities: All development, creation, operational, planning, and sales activities for LINE and related services.