Twitter remains as among the most popular social networking platforms not just in the US but also in the entire world. However, the micro blogging site is now aware that the fast-rising Asian chat apps could stand on its way not just to attain greater popularity across Asia but also to obtain international expansion.
In its filings for its proposed initial public offering in the US last week, Twitter Inc admitted that it is currently facing competition from popular instant messaging apps in the Asian market. Those include China’s WeChat, South Korea’s Kakao Talk, and Japan’s Line. Those platforms are now very popular among smartphone users in that region.
The Asian messaging apps are not just enticing to local users. According to analysts, those are also becoming popular alternatives to traditional mobile text messaging. Nowadays, those are also evolving to become general social network platforms where smartphone users spend time to communicate with friends and families, play videogames with other people, post status updates, and share photographs.
To this day, those instant messaging apps may not be considered as direct competitors to Twitter. However, as mentioned, most of them are starting to offer features that are almost the same as those of Twitter. It is not surprising to use any of those apps to establish official accounts for public figures and companies that need to disseminate promotional and marketing messages to their followers.
Also threatening for Twitter is the fast-growing user base of those apps. Twitter acknowledges that those could possibly become competitive and strong platforms for mobile advertising in the near future.
Millions of users
As of this writing, no one could underestimate the reach and popularity of those three Asian apps. Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat has up to 300 million users in China and about 100 million users in emerging markets in the region and in Latin America.
Line has already generated up to 250 million registered users across the globe. About 80% of those are based outside the Japan market, particularly in Spain, Thailand, and Taiwan. On the other hand, Kakao Talk is regularly used by around 110 million users worldwide.
Twitter could only hope that those Asian apps would remain less popular in the US. But the Website may still not be able to relax even a bit in its home market. WhatsApp is a potential competitor in North America because it is popular due to its free instant and text messaging services.