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Investors tap mobile message craze as trading begins on Line

Investors looking to ride the mobile messaging craze — get in line.

The Japanese messaging app Line is set to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday and in Tokyo on Friday. Though little known in the U.S., Line has enjoyed a quick surge to popularity in Japan, filling an important communications hole after a devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011 damaged phone infrastructure. In its home country, Line has more users than Facebook or Twitter.

Even if you haven't heard of Line, there's no need to look further than your own smartphone to gauge the importance of mobile messaging. Chances are, you're among the 900 million users of Facebook Messenger,...