Line Village Store launches in Bangkok

Characters from the Line chat app feature at Line Village Store, which has launched at Bangkok’s Siam Square One.

But the 200 sqm store is just a prelude to the THB500 million (US$14.7 million) Line Village Bangkok, scheduled to be completed by the end of the year – a three-storey, 1500 sqm indoor theme park featuring digital amusements.

Meanwhile, the shop has 11 of the main Line characters on view, in both virtual-reality format and in theme rooms. It matches the style of Line Friends stores around the world, with a gigantic Brown the Bear doll at the front door. However, for Thailand, Brown has his paws raised in a wai to greet customers, and inside he and his pals can be found riding in a tuk-tuk.

While compact, the store is filled with more than 2000 items, from clothing and stationery to dolls and accessories

Line Village Bangkok chief executive Kampanart Wonghongkul has been licensed by Seoul-based Line Friends to run the Thai concept.

Line Village Store - inside 1

“There are 45 Line Friends stores and cafes in major cities around the world, but Line Village is the new business model and Bangkok is the first in the world,” he says. “We spent about two years developing the concept, working closely with Line headquarters in South Korea, and expect to draw 12 million visitors a year once it’s fully completed.”

The Line application has users in more than 230 countries and territories, and Line Thailand says more than 94 per cent of Thais who have mobile internet use it, making Thailand the second-largest market in the world after Japan. Nielsen research shows that Thais spend an average of 234 minutes a day on their smartphones, and a third of that time they are looking at Line.

Collectible items

Introduced in 2011, the character stickers are now collectible items and feature in animated films, games and cafes. Line Thailand estimates that about 500 million sticker sets were downloaded last year.

“Visitors to Line Village Bangkok will have a one-hour experience with interactive media, animations and games from Brown’s house, Cony’s kitchen, James’ room, a garden and a plaza, as well as places to take pictures, play digital games and enjoy snacks,” Kampanart says.

“There are also VR headsets Line developed with Samsung to take visitors through fun experiences with Line characters in virtual reality.”

Line Village Store - inside

Until the end of next month, visitors to the Samsung booth at Siam Square One can try the VR headsets.

Admission to Line Village will cost around THB800, and visitors will be able to download a special set of Line Village stickers to their mobile device.

“The Line office in Seoul has more than 1000 designers, and the main design of Line Village came from there, ensuring that every character and style and all content precisely matches the brand identity,” says Kampanart, who has worked in out-of-home media and the events and printing businesses under the Dymaxtion brand for 20 years.

“A team of 100 designers, both Korean and Thai, have worked together to produce hi-tech mapping for this indoor adventure park to bring all the characters to life.”

Kampanart says he spends his leisure time travelling to amusement and theme parks in different countries, like Universal Studios and Disney, and collects figurines and characters as his hobby.

“It’s long been my passion to set up an attraction in Bangkok. Luckily, my project and the ambition of Line Friends to expand the new platform merged.”

Limited-edition items exclusive to Thailand will hit the store when the project is completed. They will include a waiing Brown doll and the whole gang in a tuk-tuk.

Also available will be goods produced in collaboration with famous brands, such as a Lamy fountain pen, Swarovski necklace, Arabia coffee mug, Bookbinders notebook and Dabbawalla children’s lunch bag.

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