Founder Jan Koum announces milestone six years after Facebook-owned messaging service was launched
Messaging app Whatsapp has hit 900 million monthly active users, according to chief executive and founder Jan Koum. The Facebook-owned app has grown by 50pc in the last year, with 100m users added in the last four months alone. Whatsapp was acquired by Facebook for $19bn (£11bn) in 2014 in one of Silicon Valley’s largest ever acquisition deals, although it still doesn’t have a business model.
WhatsApp now has 900 million monthly active users.
Mark Zuckerberg has previously said: “Once we get to being a service with 1 billion… people, there are many clear ways that we can monetise.” At its current rate of growth, it will hit 1 billion users in January 2016. The question then is how to make money from them. Zuckerberg and Koum have both already expressed that advertising will not marr the app – so what next?
There may be a clue in Facebook’s other messaging app: Messenger . While WhatsApp’s user numbers lag behind its parent company’s 1.44 billion monthly active users, they are far head of sister-app Messenger which had 700m monthly active users as of June this year.
The solution for Facebook may be to ape Asian apps like WeChat, which has transformed from an instant messaging platform to a full-blown consumer ecosystem similar to the mobile internet itself. The platform allows users to play games, order food, hail taxis, transfer money, and connect to brands or celebrities, becoming a natural interaction gateway to real-world businesses.
If Facebook combined Whatsapp’s users with Messenger’s, it would be a powerful carrot to dangle in front of developers and brands who want to reach its massive audience.
Founded in 2009, WhatsApp was born as a basic text-messaging app with the ability to send voice messages. Its founder Koum emigrated to California from Ukraine at 16, and founded the app to make long distance communication easy and cheap. The app recently rolled out a free voice calling feature, to compete with services like Skype and Viber.
This article was written by Madhumita Murgia from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.