WhatsApp Now Crosses 70 Mn Active Users In India
Mobile messenger service WhatsApp’s user base in India has grown to 70 million active-users, which is over a 10th of its global users, according to the company. The news was confirmed by Neeraj Arora the company’s vice-president said at a recent conference, where he said, “We have 70 million active-users here who use the application at least once a month.”
Experts believe the total user-base for the company, which was bought by Facebook in a mega $19-billion deal earlier this year, is 600 million.
With over one-tenth of the users from the country, India is one of the biggest markets for WhatsApp. Arora estimates that the platform will connect billions of people in emerging markets like India and Brazil as part of its objectives.
WhatsApp has been the top driver for smartphone penetration in India. Experts believe the big appeal of this instant-messaging app that works across all smartphones was that it was nearly free - barring the low cost of a basic mobile data plan - unlike SMS text.
Over the last 6 months, WhatsApp had packed in more features, while remaining clean, fast, simple. It’s the preferred way to share multimedia now-pictures, audio and video. To a large extent, it is responsible for killing MMS-a version of SMS once used for multimedia. According to the Financial Times, WhatsApp “has done to SMS on mobile phones what Skype did to international calling on landlines.
Its most popular feature lies in the handling of groups that takes it into the realm of social media. WhatsApp groups are the new social groups in India. As WhatsApp remains a clear leader in mobile messaging in India, as it is in Europe and Latin America, Arora, an alumnus of IIT-Delhi and ISB Hyderabad, said WhatsApp will continue to hold a distinct identity even after the takeover by Facebook and will not get merged with the social networking giant.
He said with has only 80 employees, WhatsApp’s user-base has doubled to 600 million from the 30 million when he joined three years ago. The company has flourished because of its focus on the product, rather than the business side of things, he said.
Even though India is a big bet for Facebook and the WhatsApp acquisition can prove to be very lucrative for the social media giant, experts believe it needs to rethink its strategies for the rest of the Asian market, especially China.
Asian market is increasingly seeing a growing social-media market on mobile. For example, Line in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, WeChat in China and Kakao in Korea, can be a tough nut to crack for Facebook. mobile messaging app, WeChat is growing bigger and bigger in just three years of its existence and is likely to surpass rival WhatsApp in the coming months.
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