One in 10 WhatsApp users in India; company claims half a billion monthly active users globally

WhatsappWhatsApp, the cross-platform instant messaging app claims to have reached the 500 million monthly active users mark. Out of this, a fifth or 100 million users were added in the last four months alone. The company further claims that it is sharing 700 million photos and 100 million videos on a daily basis.

Earlier this month, the company had set a new record when its users exchanged 64 billion messages in 24 hours on April 1.

"Thanks to all of you, half a billion people around the world are now regular, active WhatsApp users. Users are also sharing more than 700 million photos and 100 million videos every single day. We could go on, but for now, it's more important that we get back to work – because here at WhatsApp, we are just getting started," read an official company blog post.

The post further mentioned that in the last few months, the company has grown fastest in countries like Brazil, Mexico, Russia, and India.

In Feb this year, social networking giant Facebook Inc had announced that it will acquire WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash and stock deal. Earlier this month, Facebook had crossed 100 million user's mark in India, making it the second largest market in terms of number of users for the company after the US. Note that this is just double of the number of WhatsApp users in the country.

The India connection

Apart from being one of the fastest growing countries for the company, India also accounts for almost 10 per cent (9.6 per cent to be exact) of the total user base of WhatsApp, Jan Koum, co-founder and CEO, WhatsApp told Re/code. India is the single largest country for the company as of now, with 48 million monthly actives users (MAUs).

If these numbers are to be believed, the company has added 8 million MAUs in just two months (WhatsApp had 40 million users in India as of Feb 2014). It has also partnered with a number of telecom operators in the country including Reliance Communications, Tata Docomo and Uninor.

The other country that comes close to India is Brazil, with 45 million MAUs.

He also mentioned that the company has not really changed anything huge in WhatsApp in the last six months. However, it has done over 1,000 little bug fixes and improvements. For those who don't already know, the company has been planning to add a voice calling feature in the app, and according to Koum, we can expect to see the feature being rolled out in the next few months.

In terms of competition, as of December 2013, Japanese firm LINE Corporation, which owns and operates the free call and messaging app LINE had crossed the 300 million users mark globally, out of which 15 million came from India. Bharti Softbank-backed Hike and Viber also claimed to have 15 million registered users as of Feb this year. However, note that these numbers only represent the registered users, and not MAUs as disclosed by WhatsApp.

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