Already the world’s biggest messaging app, WeChat seems to be accelerating its growth even further in the past few months. That’s because Tencent (HKG:0700) founder and CEO Pony Ma said at a recent conference in southern China that the messaging app – known in Chinese as Weixin – is set to surpass 300 million users in January 2013.
The last major milestone for WeChat – an app like Whatsapp, Line, or KakaoTalk – was back in September, when it sailed past 200 million registered users. Ma mentioned at the time that the app was generating 700 million location-based activities each day.
We have four confirmed data points for the app’s progress, so here’s a visual look (updated with a correction) at WeChat’s growth:
Ma’s extrapolation of the next big, round number shows that WeChat, far from hitting saturation point, is growing even faster than before. While going from 100 million to 200 million took six months, the leap from 200 million to 300 million will take a mere four months.
The app went global in April of this year when it also picked up its catchy English name. It’s hard to decipher, despite our best attempts, how many on WeChat are in China and how many are its newer foreign users. When we prodded Tencent about this a few months ago, Justin Sun, director of international WeChat operations at Tencent, said that the Chinese-overseas ratio was starting to get a bit more level, but no numbers were forthcoming. On the plus side, we know the app is doing well in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, the US, and across the Middle East.
But it’s not all rosy for WeChat, with a growing number of people concerned about whether Chinese laws mean that authorities in Beijing could have access to user data.
[Source: People’s Daily - article in Chinese]