The Mobile Messenger War: What's the Score?


Line will soon hit 100M users

Yesterday we pointed out that Chinese chat application WeChat (known as Weixin in Chinese) had surpassed the 300 million user mark. And just yesterday evening, apparently not wanting to be outdone, NHN Japan’s Line put a teaser site online saying that it would soon pass the 100 million user milestone.

Both feats are astounding, considering that these chat apps have only been around for a relatively short time. Given that we now have reasonably up to date figures for many of the major chat app players, let's take a moment to compare their progress as we head into 2013:

Chat app Start date Approx. users [1]
WeChat Jan 2011 [2] 300M
Line June 2011 [3] 99M+
Kakao Talk Mar 2010 [4] 72M
Kik Apr 2010 [5] 30 M [6]

Of course, WhatsApp is not included on this list. Its user numbers are tough to pinpoint, but word on the street is that they total between 200 and 300 million. It will be interesting to see if WhatsApp can continue as a paid service, with so many free up-and-comers. Many of these Asian players are expected to make a stronger push into Western markets this year, so I would expect the folks at WhatsApp are worried. I don’t use the application, but my colleague Willis also expressed some skepticism about WhatsApp recently.

There are other new players on the scene as well, including DeNA’s Comm which recently announced it had five million downloads as of this past December. GREE Messenger just burst onto the scene as well, although its offering is still sort of beta, and I expect a marketing blitz will come sometime soon, starting in Japan.

  1. For the totals listed, this refers to registered users.  ↩

  2. Based on App Annie’s rank history for WeChat, iOS, China.  ↩

  3. Based on App Annie’s rank history for Line, iOS, Japan.  ↩

  4. Based on App Annie’s rank history for Kakao Talk, iOS, South Korea.  ↩

  5. Based on App Annie’s rank history for Kik Messenger, iOS, United States.  ↩

  6. 30 million users strong, Kik Messenger reinvents MMS to take on WhatsApp | The Verge  ↩

The post The Mobile Messenger War: What's the Score? appeared first on Tech in Asia.