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WhatsApp is now bigger than Twitter

There have been tons of mobile instant messaging services over the years, but few have had the kind impact WhatsApp’s managed to gain since it was founded in 2009.

In fact, the service may now have more users than Twitter. At least, that’s according to WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum who was speaking at AllThingsD’s Dive Into Media conference. While he wouldn’t be drawn into exact user numbers, he did say that it was north of the 200-million mark.

He did however note that the service was seeing eight-billion inbound messages and 12-billion outbound messages per day, adding that the fact it has fewer than 50 engineers means that it has the highest ratio of active users per long-term employee today of any active tech company.

Koum also claims that the service hasn’t seen a drop off since it decided to start charging US$0.99 a year, meaning that it looks set to have a long and loyal following for some time to come.

That said, any further expansion won’t come without resistance. Chinese social giant Tencent’s instant messaging effort WeChat reportedly has over 300-million users, around 40-million of whom live outside China. The bulk of those outside China come from other emerging markets, a key growth area for WhatsApp, especially given the key role mobile plays in many emerging market countries.

WeChat also has dedicated offices across the world, including Indonesia (a joint venture with MNC), the US and Thailand (via Sanook) to grow its user-base. Last year, Tencent generated US$7-billion in revenue with an operating profit of US$2.46-billion.

A major boon for WeChat in these markets has been the fact that it’s managed to successfully integrate social elements into its offering.

If WhatsApp is to continue thriving, it can’t afford to rest on what it’s doing well now. Instead, it will have to keep innovating and thinking about what it can do well in the future.

Author | Stuart Thomas

Stuart Thomas
Stuart is the editor-in-chief of Engage Me Online. After pursuing an MA in South African literature, he spent five years reporting on the global technology scene. Intrigued by the intersection of technology and work, he joined Engage Me as the editor-in-chief. He is a passionate runner, and recently ran... More
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  • Gareth Runnalls

    Hmm… couple of things. Firstly, and this is the only real crit I have, while the XBO is trailing behind the PS4 in sales, it is not when it comes to the OS. The windows 10 bump put it on top as far as speed goes when it comes to starting parties, sending messages and the like.
    The rest is legit, they could seriously sit up and take some notes here :) Regarding the updating, here it would be great to take a page out of the PS4’s playbook. If a game is capable of being played offline, for the love of any God, let us play it offline while the update downloads. It makes sense, right? I have avoided playing tomb raider about 3 times since its release because an update is always required. I let it download while I go to bed, something else comes up for a week or two, and boom, another update before I can play. MAXIMUM annoying. Sigh! Some good notes in the article though :)

  • ski

    I would like software to re-calibrate the controllers. I am currently on my 5th XBO controller due to drift issues in the thumb sticks and my current controller has already started to have issues as well. This is either a manufacturing flaw or design defect that maybe corrected with software. Either way it sucks having to drop $50+ for a new controller. Just FYI I am taking care of my controllers. I am not some pissed off 12 year old that throws them when getting my butt kicked in CoD.

    I want software or app on the Xbox to download preset sound settings directly to my headset. This maybe more of an app by the manufacture of my headset (Turtle Beach). I find it a pain to have to disconnect everything and drag it to my PC just to install a new games preset sound settings to the headset. On that same topic it would be awesome to include a EQ to custom adjust your own settings prefrences.

    The most important issue is with the networking. I would like to see Microsoft fix the known networking issues. There have been networking problems with the XBO that have not been corrected. Microsoft acknowledged there was an issue but has yet to fix it… We shouldn’t have to constantly preform a hard reset of the system to achieve an open NAT. No one else has found it weird that if your Xbox tells you it has a Moderate NAT on start up all you have to do is preform a hard reset and it has magically become Open?

  • I own and Xbox One and love it, but wrote an article about improvements that can be made. Thank you for the insightful reply :)

  • Thanks for commenting :) I find the Xbox One controller comment interesting, because I had the exact same problem with my Xbox 360 a few years back. I wonder in Microsoft copied over the general design of the thumb sticks, which seems to be flawed?

    I almost forgot about the networking issue. Sometimes when I boot my console it doesn’t load anything network related at all, but is connected to my network. I then have to restart the system for it to correct itself. Very strange indeed.

  • Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the comment, but I’m not totally sure if I understand the point you’re making here. So you’re saying that the Xbox One software can be improved, or can’t be improved? Additionally, are you comparing the author to Kim Jong Un and Putin because he feels that the Xbox One system software can be improved? I can’t really see any dots being joined there at all.

  • Hi @kelarth:disqus. Thanks for reading and the compliment :)

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