Messaging client WhatsApp that was recently bought by Facebook for $19 billion has more than 40 million active users in India, the company’s Vice-President, Business Development Neeraj Arora told Times of India in an interview.
The company had announced in December that it has 36 million active users in India and close to a million users are installing the app every day. So it is interesting to note that the number of active users shot up by 10 million in two months. The service had 25 million active users here in November and 20 million in August. It has 450 million users at the time of acquisition, out of which 320 million used the messaging service on a daily basis.
This is almost close to the data released by App Annie on WhatsApp user base following its acquisition. According to the service, around 10% of people who downloaded WhatsApp since 2012 are in India and is also the most used messaging app in India.
It is also worth noting that most of its users are on Android; as per App Annie, 84% of its downloads were from Google’s Play Store and its download numbers have improved in China, Japan and South Korea, where messaging platforms WeChat, LINE and KakaoTalk respectively have strong foothold.
Facebook currently has two apps in the top messaging apps list internationally. Based on combined download numbers from Google Play Store and iOS Store, WhatsApp was the most downloaded messaging app internationally, ahead of Skype and Facebook. Line was the fourth most downloaded, while VoIP and messaging service Viber that was recently acquired by Rakuten for $900 million was fifth.
Competition: In India WhatsApp competes against services such as Line, WeChat, Hike, Rocketalk, Mig33, Imsy, Gupshup Messenger, JaxtrSMS, ChatON (Samsung), Pinch (Affle), among others, and maybe even Blackberry’s BBM service. Services such as LINE and WeChat have taken an ecosystem approach and have been adding services on top of the messaging service to monetise. LINE tied-up with GroupOn to provide daily deals through an official account ‘Groupon Freebies’, while WeChat tied-up with GetIt to offer classifieds and deals to its users.
Telco partnerships in India: WhatsApp has partnerships with Tata Docomo and Reliance Communications in India. On Idea Cellular, where it doesn’t have an official partnership, the company has 6 million active users.