WhatsApp reaches 160 million monthly active users in India; highest in the world


21 Jun 2013
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WhatsApp, an app that revolutionized the way people exchanged messages, boasts over a billion monthly active users (MAUs) globally. Acquired by Facebook in 2014 in a $19 billion deal, the service has now become indispensable. On the sidelines of launching the video calling feature on its app, WhatsApp announced that it has the maximum number of users in India, surpassing any other country in the world. In India, where the messaging app runs on 96 percent of smartphones, has now hit the 160 million MAUs mark.

The messaging app offered users the ability to exchange messages. With periodic updates to the app, users can now not only send and receive images and videos, but a new feature now lets them make video calls. With the video calling feature enabled for its wide number of users, WhatsApp is easily set to replace traditional video calling services such as Skype and even Facebook Messenger. By hitting this milestone in India, WhatsApp has added around 90 million MAUs in India in two years at an astounding rate of 3.5 million users a month. It has also joined a number of apps which enjoy such enormous popularity such as Facebook which boasts over 1.5 billion MAUs in the country.

Launched in India six years back, the messaging app has become the prime communication tool in the country owing to certain features which prominent services are yet to provide. For example, it offers message exchange irrespective of the platform. Unlike Apple’s proprietary iMessage, WhatsApp lets you communicate across iOS, Android, and Windows platforms. Other than the basic cross-platform flexibility, the app is also loaded with features including voice calls, audio messages, media sharing, document sharing, and now also lets users video call. Although it is not a new feature, WhatsApp has a major advantage over rivals when it comes to popularity.

India has emerged as a market for growing technologies and services and companies such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Apple, and Google which have been placing big bets owing to the rapid adoption rate the consumers promise in the country. When it launched, it promised to keep the service ad-free and even after being acquired by Facebook — a service that has been time and again chastised for serving ads than information to users — WhatsApp has been able to keep its platform clean.

WhatsApp success story echoes with the kind of usage the app is being put to in India. Be it for casual chatting with college friends or forming matrimonial groups, the app has been the driving factor of modern communication in the country. And why only the regular consumers, even government organizations in India such as the police department have been using the platform to put across its policies and initiatives to have a wider reach in less time. Essentially a free messaging app, WhatsApp can be used in more than 10 local Indian languages, making it all the more a preferred choice.

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