Earlier this week, Viber announced that it has crossed over 100 million concurrent online users, as well as over 360 million registered users globally. That’s a lot of user and engagement.
While we do not have a country by country breakdown of Viber’s users, Viber claims to have a wide geographic footprint but some of its biggest user bases are in Southeast Asia, according to a report on Forbes.
Southeast Asia, home to some 600 million people, recently attracted a lot of attention from chat apps such as Viber, LINE, WeChat, KakaoTalk and BeeTalk. This is especially true for Kakaotalk: Kakao co-chief executive Lee Sirgoo told Reuters that it has big plans to expand in Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia “as it seeks to close the gap with the overseas success of local rival Naver Corp’s Line service”.
“I don’t think we can become No. 1 in the world but in designated markets, we believe we have a chance. Right now for us it’s Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia,” Lee said in an interview in Shanghai.
Everyone wants a piece of Indonesia: the country with over 250 million population, has seen a lot of activities recently: earlier in March, Facebook opened their first office in Jakarta. Shortly after that Apple followed suit, opening their own office. Twitter has also earmarked Indonesia as the country that they will be looking at more closely.
Kakao said it already had around 17 million users in Indonesia, but did not provide figures for the Philippines or Malaysia.
So how many users are there on KakaoTalk Malaysia? Earlier in June 2013, Malaysian Wireless reported that there were more than 600,000 KakaoTalk users in the country with an average 50,000 new users daily. KakaoTalk Malaysia says that it targeting some 3 million users in Malaysia between Q1 and Q2 next year in 2014.
When we spoke to Mellissa Lee, Senior Vice President of KakaoTalk Malaysia end of last year, she told us that there were approximately 3 million users in Malaysia, indicating that the actual growth in Malaysia is faster than it initially expected. These users mostly get to know KakaoTalk through word of mouth and the app store.
Interestingly, another company which we have been following closely, Xiaomi, has chosen Philippines and Malaysia as their main global markets too.
While all the main chat apps are vying for the attention of Southeast Asia smartphone users, the battle for users is not a zero sum game: a user can use all of the platform to communicate with their different pockets of social circles.
One thing’s for sure, Malaysians, Indonesians and Filipinos are definitely going to see more promotional activities from KakaoTalk.
Featured Image Credit: FreeEnterprise