Asian messaging apps make dollars per user, American apps make cents

Asian messaging apps make dollars per user, American apps make cents
There is no shortage of messaging apps in the world, and usually we judge the success of a messaging app by the number of active users. For example, WhatsApp is generally seen as the king, because it has 900 million monthly active users. But, new data shows that even if we don't change how we look at it, the companies behind messaging apps may soon start focusing more on how much revenue they can generate per user.

At least, that is undoubtedly how American messaging apps are looking at it. According to data presented by Activate at the WSJD Live conference Tuesday, China's WeChat generates an average revenue per user of $7, KakaoTalk nets $4.24, and Line earns $3.16. For comparison, WhatsApp earns 6 cents per users (despite theoretically charging 99 cents per year for the service), Viber earns 1 cent per user, and Facebook Messenger doesn’t generate any revenue at all. This means that while WeChat is generating about $4.2 billion from its 600 million active users and Line gets about $632 million from its 200 million users, WhatsApp is generating only about $54 million from its 900 million active users. 

The big difference is while WhatsApp has a yearly fee, Asian apps like Line and WeChat sell stickers, apps, and games on top of the messaging services. Facebook Messenger tried to sell stickers, but we just checked and it looks like all of the sticker packs are now free. Facebook also has a long list of apps that integrate, but none are sold by Facebook. 

Activate also called messaging the "fastest-growing digital vehicle ever," and it still has plenty of room to grow. According to Activate, messaging apps will add 1.1 billion new users by 2018, helped by about 579 million untapped users in the Middle East and Africa, and 265 million in Asia. 

source: WSJ



1. Tziggy14

Posts: 624; Member since: Sep 02, 2014

And Hangouts could've had a piece of the growing pie in the messaging app market if it wasn't so s**tty.

5. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Hangout is a very small player compare to other Messaging app but i like to use it for my internal circle like family members. Since both Android and iOS users can communicate with it.

9. nodes

Posts: 1160; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

All of the messengers mentioned above can be used in both iOS and Android too.

2. Chilidog

Posts: 29; Member since: Jun 11, 2015

WhatsApp is free though

3. Kruze

Posts: 1285; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

It's free in some countries.

19. An.Awesome.Guy

Posts: 636; Member since: Jan 12, 2015

Whatsapp ask a fee after using it for a free year, after that you will have to pay for a subscription. In some countries the users won't be asked for any subscription fee because Whatsapp knows that it is hard for these people to pay a fee every year and instead will have these people to increase their user base number and stay above other apps. In the past iphone users could pay one dollar and have the app for free all the time.

4. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2279; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

Americans need to learn basic geography. The Middle East is a part of Asia, no need to separate them.

6. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

Well imo I think the Middle East is partially recognized as a not so part of Asia because their traditions, cultures, what their people look like and so on contrasts from what the rest of Asia and its people have, in other words don't put the blame on the Americans, the whole world is actually aware of this.

10. ihearlivepplz

Posts: 80; Member since: Jul 06, 2015

Um, the traditions, cultures and what they look like different from the rest of asia? So I guess india is not considered a part of Asia either. You're probably the only one who partially does not recognise it as a part of Asia :P

23. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

Well said but you lack common sense, I guess I can agree India isn't part of Asia as well as their people don't have much brain as the rest. f**king cunt

25. ihearlivepplz

Posts: 80; Member since: Jul 06, 2015

Such a burn. Gosh. You got me there. You have a nice day now, little person.


Posts: 322; Member since: Feb 28, 2014

He is talking about geography, the middle east is an eurocentric description. The majority of the so called middle east countries are part of Asia look at the map. So enough with the divide.

22. ihearlivepplz

Posts: 80; Member since: Jul 06, 2015

That's like saying China is part of Europe or Russia is part of Asia cause its right next to it. The middle east is in Asia. There's nothing to argue about over that. Also, he mentions nothing about the geographical location. He clearly mentioned culture, tradition and what Arabs look like. He says they contrast with Asians. Do they look and have similar cultures and traditions to Europeans then? Oh and Vowel clash, look it up.

13. willy42

Posts: 36; Member since: Mar 02, 2015

Most people consider the Middle East to be in its own designation but if grouped geographically, added to Africa.

7. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

Quite surprised WeChat is That popular lol! I'm a WhatsApp user and I find the rest of these messaging apps kind of too cluttered and messy, and yeah I ain't got time for games or buying stickers inside a messaging app

8. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

people from the west failed to realize wechat sell emoji and gaming apps inside wechat while WhatsApp doesn't

21. An.Awesome.Guy

Posts: 636; Member since: Jan 12, 2015

Well, a lot of people use Whatsapp because it was early and have a big user base ,if that wasn't an early app then I am sure other apps would become the most user one. Why use Whatsapp when most of your friends are on Wechat?(In China of course) AFAIK, Wechat can be used to take a taxi and to buy stuff, it also have blogs inside of it and followers for these blogs who use only Wechat.

12. Extraneus

Posts: 121; Member since: Jun 02, 2012

Why would users prefer the messaging app where you have to pay, vs. the one where you get the stuff for free?

16. der_damo

Posts: 213; Member since: Sep 16, 2014

Cultures bro, cultures.

14. hanabi

Posts: 177; Member since: Oct 08, 2015

Wechat is not popular worldwide... it's just Chinese people using it or anyone who has Chinese friends Just like you never see xiomi phones but it's ranked no.4 in smartphone sales :)

15. mixedfish

Posts: 1561; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

Whatsapp is the absolute saddest excuse for a messaging app: messages that report as sent but never received by recipients, unable to show chat updates unless you force refresh, unable to upload files outside of your target photo directory within the app, some bulls**t where it auto adds people based on your phone number contact list....etc etc crap just goes on. If chicks didn't love using so much, I'd never touch that crap, in fact you know what phone chicks love using? oh yeah it also happens to be the platform where Whatsapp started on. Crap attracting crap, it's Newtons 4th unannounced law.

17. HtPsycho

Posts: 27; Member since: Aug 14, 2015

I'm Surprised That there's no talk about Telegram.

20. An.Awesome.Guy

Posts: 636; Member since: Jan 12, 2015

How does it make money ?

18. willywanta

Posts: 502; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

they forget the BBM

24. gazmatic

Posts: 818; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

nobody uses that. I have 450 people on my whatsapp and only 15 on bbm

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.