Web giant Tencent revealed that its WeChat/Weixin messaging app now has 355 million monthly active users and said it would make efforts to drive uptake outside its home market of China.
In its fourth quarter results, Tencent said the number of users for the app, known as Weixin in China and WeChat in overseas markets, increased 121 per cent year on year and 6 per cent compared with the previous quarter.
The company did not give a breakdown of users in China compared with the rest of the world but in August last year said that 100 million of its 236 million registered accounts were outside China, after it doubled its international user base in just three months.
If the growth of Chinese and overseas subscribers has remained stable, this would mean there are now around 150 million WeChat subscribers and 205 million Weixin accounts.
The company outlined plans for the international expansion of WeChat by “marketing and popularising” the service in “selected international markets”.
A game service was added to the WeChat platform in January, following its earlier introduction for Weixin, as Tencent evolves the service into becoming a social platform.
Looking ahead, the company said it plans to use its “leading communications and social applications to support a broad portfolio of associated applications spanning activities such as games, entertainment, information, and utilities”.
Payment functionality was added to Weixin in 2013, and the company said it would “leverage Official Accounts and Weixin Payment to explore O2O (online-to-offline) and mobile e-commerce opportunities in China”.
WhatsApp, which was recently acquired by Facebook for $19 billion, is acknowledged as the world’s most popular messaging app with 450 million monthly active users.
Japanese player LINE recently claimed to have 370 million users globally, although the company does not distinguish between active users and registered users, unlike other messaging app providers.
Viber claims to have 300 million users, but its new owner Rakuten has big plans to grow this significantly in the future.