Messaging apps with varieties of features beyond text messaging are emerging as popular social networks among people around the world. For me, I have three messaging apps in my Smartphone which are Whatsapp, Line and Wechat since 2011. Whatsapp used to be the leading messaging application. It’s simple and easy to use as a new beginner. In Taiwan, unlimited text message plan compared to data plan is not very popular and economic so Whatsapp, as a free messaging app, turned out to occupy the market. But these years I stopped using Whatsapp since there hasn’t any innovation compared to other messaging apps. Besides, most of my Taiwanese and international friends moved to other messaging apps. I consider it is a good chance to reflect those messaging apps and make a general comparison of features and popularization.
Line has been available in Taiwan since August 2012. It is made by Naver Japan and known for its cute and oversized animated chat emotions. Characters like Moon, Brown, Cony and James have swept the Japanese and Taiwanese market no matter online or offline. Obviously, their strategy is targeting on Female’s market. Recently it has formally launched media campaigns employing celebrity spokespersons in Taiwan. Those big-budget integrated media campaigns are trying to create more awareness. In addition to the aesthetic design, LINE has advantage allowing you to reply to messages by installing a PC or Mac OS program, providing users registering number with an email account and making free online calling.
WeChat is the most popular messaging apps in China and definitely as LINE’s top competitor in Asian market. Recently they also have launched mobile campaign and employed celebrity as spokespersons in Taiwan’s market. This social app gathers all of your sharing and communication tools in one place, including video calls, text messages, and images. WeChat is well-known for some innovative social features like letting users look around for other WeChat users to chat with, or browse their own contacts by shaking their phone. If users are concerned about personal privacy, there are ample settings menus for updating WeChat profile and adjusting privacy settings. One function called Drift bottle, I personally am not interested in but apparently it is a fresh way to make new friends randomly. When users select “Throw” to send out voice or text message, they wait and see if anyone picks up their bottle and replies for further relationship. Users can also choose to reply for it or throw it back to the sea.
According to statista.com, LINE has 120 million users and Tencent, a Chinese investment holding company, announced that the total number of WeChat users had reached 300 million, including over 10 million overseas users. Whatsapp, LINE, WeChat all have simple interfaces and group chat functions. I believe different users from business professionals to teenage might value differently using the messaging apps such as battery draining, social networking and quality of free online calling. Challenges for LINE and WeChat dominating markets might be ensuring a high percentage of monthly active users and identifying revenue streams in their platforms. Since this two messaging apps are free, I am interested in how they truly find returns on their investment and will continue to introduce it in the following posts.