WeChat User Base Inching Closer To WhatsApp

by CXOtoday News Desk    Aug 14, 2014


Popular mobile messaging app, WeChat is growing bigger and bigger in just three years of its existence and is set to surpass its US-based rival WhatsApp, says reports. WeChat offered by Chinese internet giant Tencent claims to have 438 million active users, closing in on WhatsApp that boasts of 500 million active users. WeChat’s user base shows a 57 percent rise this quarter from the same time last year, according to its parent company Tencent.

Based in Shenzhen, Tencent operates online and social networking services including instant messaging service QQ and Tencent Microblog as well as mobile messaging service WeChat. “We were ranked the no. 1 publisher in China’s iOS App Store by free downloads and revenue for each of the first seven months of 2014,” the company said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

WeChat is more versatile than rival WhatsApp, allowing its users to find each other by shaking their smartphones - a common dating technique - and even book and pay for taxis, as well as send text, photos, videos and voice messages, says a TOI report.

A Gigaom report also explains how it is making money from messaging which has helped it surge ahead with greater speed. It says, while Tencent reported net $3.2 billion in revenue this quarter, an increase of 37 percent from last year, a significant portion of this money directly from the WeChat app itself, which provides “premium features” that customers love buying, like special stickers and emoticons. But the majority of the way WeChat helps bring in revenue is by offering portals to other Tencent properties that are easier to monetize, particularly gaming.

Tencent Chief Strategy Officer James Mitchell focused much of his attention on gaming, saying that he expects revenues from that important division to stay stable through the rest of the year. According to Reuters, which earlier reported on his comments, Tencent is focusing its gaming services on the “user experience” in the next several months, after which, the company hopes gaming revenue will jump considerably in 2015. Its revenues from online gaming made up 56% of the company’s total revenue for the quarter, says the report.

It has plug-ins that allows people to manage their banking through their WeChat app and now it is exploring e-commerce product sales. Other global players include Japan’s Line, with more than 300 million registered users, and South Korea’s Kakao Talk with over 100 million, which together dominate other Asian markets.