to emerge as a dominant force in the next year or so as Facebook did as a social network, and that was fuelling interest in the sector.
"Already it is very clear that these five companies are very valuable and we've had a lot of interest," Livingston, 26, told Reuters in a phone interview.
"But we are interested in Kik for the long haul. It is pure luck to get to ride a wave like this and, whatever the money, you would regret getting off that wave."
He said the five were racing to differentiate themselves.
"People want a simple messaging service but they also want secondary offerings, be it gaming, shopping, or platform sharing, and that is where the money comes in," he said, citing Kakao's successful promotion on gaming apps.
As for Kik? "Our big bet is the web because we have taken Kik and turned it into a browser," he said.
Line in August said its app had been downloaded more than 200 million times and it may seek a stock market listing in the United States or Japan, but did not give a time frame. The company could not be immediately reached for comment.
WeChat has over 300 million users and is used by over half of Chinese smartphone users. It has denied any plans to spinoff from Tencent. Reuters was awaiting a reply to an email to the company seeking more information.
Kakao, which carries a version of the popular game "Candy Crush Saga", has about 90 million users. It could not be immediately reached for comment.