Messaging app Viber has 209 million monthly active users, being used by 12 per cent of mobile device owners globally (excluding China), its parent company Rakuten said.

This reach puts it ahead of rivals Line (10 per cent), KakaoTalk (6 per cent) and Tencent’s international WeChat service (4 per cent), but behind market leader WhatsApp, which has a 39 per cent reach, according to the e-commerce giant’s latest results presentation.

Rakuten has previously used other metrics to describe adoption of Viber, which it acquired early this year, such as ‘unique IDs’. This now stands at 449 million, up from the 400 million cited at the end of July 2014, and from 280 million at the end of 2013.

While the bulk of Viber’s users are in Asia and Asia Pacific (29.9 per cent), its other big markets are Western Europe (19.9 per cent) and the Middle East (14.2 per cent).

In its presentation, the strengths of Viber were highlighted, with significant emphasis placed on security (“best-in-class encryption for IM and VoIP”) and trust (“popular with users who demand privacy and personal safety”).

It also noted that the latest version of the app, Viber 5.0, adds support for mobile video calls, and integrated Rakuten and Viber IDs in Japan.