WhatsApp monthly active users reaches 900 million
WhatsApp, the popular mobile messaging service, now has 900 million monthly active users, according to its co-founder.
Posting on his Facebook page during a meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Jan Koum confirmed that WhatsApp was quickly closing on the one billion mark.
In April, Koum said in another Facebook post that WhatsApp had reached 800 million monthly active users, making it one of the world’s fastest growing social media brands.
WhatsApp started life as a smartphone app but now also offers a web service, which allows users to exchange messages on their computers as well as their phones and tablets.
Messaging apps have become a popular alternative to text messages, with smartphone users accessing Wi-Fi networks or their mobile data plans to chat and share content with their friends.
A bargain at USD $19 billion
WhatsApp has enjoyed stellar growth in the 19 months since it was acquired by Facebook for USD $19 billion.
That deal, when it was announced in February last year, raised a few eyebrows among investors as it represented a dramatic increase on earlier valuations of WhatsApp. It dwarfed Facebook’s previous acquisitions and remains the company’s biggest deal to date. Instagram, the photo-sharing app, cost USD $1 billion by comparison.
But despite the hefty price tag, WhatsApp is delivering the user growth Facebook wanted.
Monthly active users have almost doubled since January this year, when WhatsApp announced on its official blog that it had reached the 500,000 million milestone.
“Thanks to all of you, half a billion people around the world are now regular, active WhatsApp users,” the company said. “Our users are also sharing more than 700 million photos and 100 million videos every single day.”
Koum, a former Yahoo! employee, who ironically had applied unsuccessfully to work at Facebook as a young programmer, co-founded WhatsApp in 2009.
The USD $19 billion deal in 2014 propelled him on to the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans with an estimated net worth of USD $7.5 billion. He is now on the Facebook board.
Facebook still growing despite more competition
Facebook is itself a relatively young company having only recently celebrated its ten-year anniversary, but social media is a highly competitive space with a constant flow of new offerings tempting users away from the more established brands.
But while Twitter, the popular micro-blogging site, has seen its growth rate start to slow prompting speculation that it could become an acquisition target, Facebook continues to add more users at an impressive rate.
Announcing its second quarter results at the end of July, the company said it had reached 1.49 billion monthly active users, driven largely by rapid growth in Asia.
Facebook has a policy of growing by acquisition and deals like WhatsApp and Instagram have helped strengthen its mobile presence.
More than 800 million people accessed Facebook on a mobile device every day in the three months to June, representing 29 per cent growth on the same period last year.
Facebook’s latest major acquisition was virtual reality company, Oculus, which it picked up for USD $2 billion in March last year. Zuckerberg is known to have a keen interest in virtual reality and sees the technology as an important part of the future of social media.