Technology with attitude

Kik, KakaoTalk and Other Chat Apps That Can Challenge WhatsApp

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This news was then followed by even much better revelations for Facebook Inc., but this time coming from WhatsApp founder Jan Koum, where he pointed out that the chat app had reached 900 million monthly active users.

This is a huge figure, and actually, it is 200 million more than Facebook Messenger, 500 million more than Instagram and a whopping 600 million ahead of Twitter. On the other hand, the latest stats reveal that Snapchat homes at least 18% of the total social media users in the U.S.

There is no doubt that WhatsApp is a top class app with almost a billion users, millions ahead of its closest rivals. However, there seems to be an emerging wave of second generation chat apps that are very promising as far as offering the WhatsApp future competition is concerned.

Engaging audience through other features

In essence, WhatsApp came in and begun engaging the audience through new features such as photos, videos, emojis, as well as audio notes. This was a step ahead of the usual SMS and MMS messages that many had been used to before. In the same way, the new second wave of chat apps will only be successful if they come in with much better ways of engaging their audience, especially through features that are not common on this world-famous chat platform.

The emerging set of apps is coming in with differentiated offerings with respect to content. The good thing with these apps is that they are less likely to lack investment since they are backed by venture capitalists. One such app is Canadian start up Kik, which has a massive following in the U.S. A few months ago, this app received an investment capital of $50 million from WeChat’s Tencent.

Kik has about 240 million subscribers while WeChat has over 500 million users in China and other parts of Asia. The new investment shot the valuation of Kik to about $1 billion. With the backing of WeChat, which is not only a chat platform but also an environment for development where services can be integrated within the app to help in accessing location, making payments and other services.

In China, users of WeChat can not only make free voice and video calls and send free messages; they can also transfer money to another user’s account, hail a cab, make a restaurant reservation and do lots of other things right from within the platform. Kik is rumored to be planning on introducing a similar platform to the western nations. This Canadian is truly a potential, and if WhatsApp doesn’t make swift moves in the market, we may soon find Kik among the most used apps in the U.S. and other parts of the world.

Kakao Talk is another app with huge potential in the chat apps market. This Korean startup has 140 million registered users to its name and Bloomberg reports that this chat app is used by at least 93% of smartphone owners in South Korea. Despite its continued success in Asia, Kakao Talk is threatened by LINE, a Japanese chat app that boasts over 560 million users; however, only 211 million are active. Just like WeChat, LINE also offers unique services such as stickers, delivery services, booking a taxi as well as LINE Pay for making payments.

WhatsApp is a very popular app, but as things are positioned, it may have to reshape its service offerings in order to remain competitive; otherwise, many other second-gen apps will come in and take its place.