Reality Check: Asia-Made Messaging Apps Are Not Taking Over The World

Reality Check: Asia-Made Messaging Apps Are Not Taking Over The World

August 7, 2013

by Steven Millward


We’ve seen Asian messaging apps rocket to acquiring over half a billion collective users in the past couple of years, with most of them – like Line, WeChat, and KakaoTalk – keen to expand globally. But interesting new data from Onavo provides a useful reality check. As seen in the table below (hat-tip to TheNextWeb’s Jon Russell for spotting it), Onavo’s figures show that Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger have much greater global reach, with the Asia-made messaging apps only really dominating their home countries. One important caveat is that this covers iPhone data only. Nonetheless, it shows that WeChat’s 70 million overseas users, and the approximate 75 percent of Line’s users outside of Japan [1] are not sufficient to make those the leading apps in any country outside their home base. Line’s 44 percent reach among active iPhone users in Spain is fairly impressive, as is WeChat’s 53 percent reach in Hong Kong, but both are bested in those two markets by WhatsApp. Nonetheless, US-based WhatsApp must be somewhat worried, having copied its Asia-made rivals today by adding push-to-talk voice messaging(Editing by Anh-Minh Do, Enricko Lukman)

WeChat has nearly 400 million registered users in total; Line has over 200 million. But Whatsapp has 300 million active users.  ↩

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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