Chinese web giant Tencent revealed its WeChat/Weixin messaging app now has 396 million monthly active users, as it continues to keep pace with the growth of its international rivals.
According to Tencent’s first quarter results, the messaging app (known as WeChat internationally and Weixin in China) saw user numbers increase by 87 per cent year-on-year. It also saw a 12 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase, an improvement on the 6 per cent growth reported for the previous quarter.
WeChat’s growth keeps it on par with major rivals: WhatsApp recently passed the 500 million active users, while LINE revealed last week that it had 420 million registered users.
Tencent said it made efforts to build the ecosystem around its messaging app during first quarter, including the integration of deals and review service Dianping and other services into Weixin Payment; the expansion of the Weixin Payment user base through a subsidy programme; and developing the use of eCommerce on official accounts of retailers.
The company also reiterated its focus on international expansion as it “continued to driver user engagement for WeChat in selected countries” — a strategy outlined in its previous set of results.
A game service was added to the WeChat platform in January, following its earlier introduction for Weixin, as Tencent looked to evolve the service into a social platform.
Payment functionality was added to Weixin in 2013, with the company saying it would “leverage Official Accounts and Weixin Payment to explore O2O (online-to-offline) and mobile e-commerce opportunities in China”.
Back in August 2013 Tencent said that 100 million of its 236 million registered accounts were outside China, but the increased emphasis on international expansion means this ratio is likely to have shifted towards users located outside China.