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WhatsApp claims 70M monthly active users in India

WhatsappWhatsApp, the cross-platform instant messaging app claims to have crossed the 70 million monthly active users mark in India. The app had 60 million users in the country as of August this year, which means that it added about ten million users in less than three months in the Indian market.

"We have 70 million active users here who use the application at least once a month," said WhatsApp VP Neeraj Arora.

Globally, the app has more than 600 million monthly active users, which is an increase of over 100 million users from 500 million monthly active users in April 2014. What this means is that over a tenth of WhatsApp users are in India, making it one of the biggest markets for the company.

The company is now looking to cross the one billion active users mark by focusing on markets like India and Brazil. Apart from being one of the fastest growing countries for the company, India also accounts for over 11 per cent (11.66 per cent to be exact) of the total user base of WhatsApp.

The company had earlier announced that it would launch its voice calling service in the second quarter of 2014. However, it is still working on the same, and should launch the service early next year.

In Feb this year, social networking giant Facebook Inc. had announced that it will acquire WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash and stock deal. The company recently closed its acquisition of WhatsApp with a final price tag of about $22 billion- an increase of $3 billion- due to the increased value of Facebook's stock in recent months. Last week, WhatsApp reported a net loss of $232.51 million for the six months ended June 30, 2014.

Competition in India

The app competes with the likes of Line, Hike and WeChat, among others. Hike, the instant messaging app from BSB (Bharti Softbank- the joint venture between Bharti Group and Japan's Softbank) claimed to have crossed the 20 million users mark in June this year. At the time, close to 90 per cent of the app's users or 18 million users were from India.

In comparison, Japanese free call and messaging app Line claimed to have over 30 million registered users in India as of last month. And while this number is just over five per cent of the 560 million registered users the app has globally (in 230 countries), it makes India one of the largest markets for the company.

So basically WhatsApp has more than double the number of users of its closest competitor in the Indian market. Also worth noting is that the numbers disclosed by WhatsApp are monthly active users (which is what really matters in the case of such apps), while the ones offered by Hike and Line only represent the registered users.

In related news, last week, UK-based privately held communication services provider New Call Telecom had acquired a 70 per cent stake in instant messaging and mobile calling application firm Nimbuzz for around $175 million.

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