Mobile web venture Bharti SoftBank (BSB) is to invest a further $7 million into its Hike messaging app, as it looks to drive a significant increase in uptake.

Developed by the joint venture of India’s Bharti Enterprises and Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, the app combines web-based instant messaging with SMS.

With more than 90 per cent of mobile users in India owning feature phones, SMS integration has proved popular, and the app has attracted five million subscribers in just four months.

Kavin Mittal, head of product and strategy for BSB, told ZDNet that the company aims to triple or quadruple its user based by investing in new features and marketing.

The investment will be used to recruit staff and increase the frequency with which the app is updated.

There have been several updates to Hike in the past four months with the second full version recently launched with the addition of status updates, moods, and friend circles

Around 60 per cent of hike users are based in India with the remainder coming from across the world, led by the Middle East and Europe.

The app is available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and S40, with a beta version for BlackBerry 10 launched recently.