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Business trends

How emoji became a multimillion-dollar business

From emoticons to Line Friends, they offer a creative and emotional vocabulary

Emoji were ubiquitous in Japan by the early 2000s, but it was not until Apple added an emoji keyboard to its worldwide iPhone operating system in 2011 that they emigrated to global stardom. (Nikkei montage)


All these symbols signify "confused," and they have become part of a universal language. The first is a basic emoticon using punctuation marks and letters; the second a more complex kaomoji (Japanese for "face character"), using symbols from global alphabets; and the last an emoji, a miniature picture. More recently, they have been joined by animated "stickers" featuring distinct characters that can be pasted into text.

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