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Tencent, Foxconn invest $175M in Hike Messenger valuing it $1.4B


Hike Messenger has raised $175 million from China’s Tencent and Foxconn in a series D round of funding which values the company at $1.4 billion, reports TechCrunch. With this, Hike has raised over $261 million in funding. Earlier in the year, the company had raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Matt Mullenweg, co founder of WordPress, Adam D’Angelo, founder of Quora and Aditya Agarwal and Ruchi Sanghvi, both former Dropbox employees, in their personal capacities.

Hike previously raised $65 million in funding from Tiger Global and Bharti SoftBank (BSB) in August 2014, four months after having raised $14 million in a round from BSB. The company, which launched globally in December 2012, had also raised $7 million from BSB four months after its launch.

In January, it reported 100 million registered users and 40 billion messages monthly. Note that these are registered users and not active users, which we feel is a better measure of a mobile messaging app. The company mentions that 90% of its user base is from India and under the age of 30.

It’s closest competition, WhatsApp, had more than 70 million active users in India at the end of November 2014, a number which has surely grown since then. Earlier in the year, WhatsApp crossed 1 billion monthly active users (MAUs). Facebook’s own standalone Messenger app that had crossed 800 million active monthly users in January.

WeChat in India

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Interestingly, Tencent also owns messaging app WeChat and was launched in India in 2012. In April, WeChat broke the 700 million active users barrier. It has also invested in other messaging apps such as SnapChat and Kik. Note that Tencent also owns China’s QQ Messenger that has 550 million users at the same time.

WeChat hasn’t released numbers on its Indian users and hasn’t been able to make a proper dent in the market. In India it has tried pushing users to adopt by tying up with other services. In June 2015, it partnered  with Eros Now where users could listen to music, watch videos and get Bollywood gossip and news through its official channel on the messaging platform.  WeChat released an API that would allow mobile apps to connect with their corresponding WeChat official accounts.

Other Hike features

– Hike also launched a feature called ‘Car Match’, allowing Hike users match, connect, chat and share rides

– In  December 2015, it launched in 8 Indic languages including Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam and Telugu.

– It started aggregating Hindi news stories in September, and had said then that it would roll out this feature for other regional languages as well. The messenger initiallylaunched the News feature in August in English, aggregating stories from various leading dailies.

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– In October, Hike introduced a new feature called Hike Direct, allowing users to send messages off grid, i.e. without the use of telecom networks or an active Internet connection.

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