WhatsApp has managed to attract an active user base of over 70 million in India, a figure which boasts of a growth crossing 10 million within a few months. Neeraj Arora, the company’s business head for the country, claims that these are active users, or those who engage with the app a least once each month.
The 70 million-strong Indian fan-base of WhatsApp makes up for more than a tenth of its users on a worldwide scale. This obviously means the country is one of its biggest markets. There are plenty of opportunities for churning money out from the platform even though the company had previously promised not to roll out ads.
WhatsApp earns it dough from people renewing their subscription for a nominal fee once every year. But policies may have changed since Facebook bought the app in a $19 billion transaction only this year. In spite of flaunting a huge global user base of 600 million, the messenger tool is mainly supported by a staff of just 80 employees.
In a PTI report picked up by The Economic Times, Arora mentions that hooking up billions of Indian and Brazilian citizens through WhatsApp is one of the company’s big goals. He feels the application has grabbed a lot of users mainly because there was more focus on fine-tuning the service rather than making money out of it.
WhatsApp founders Brian Acton and Jan Koum, were apparently keen to develop a ‘cool product’ without having to bring business aspects such as valuations into focus, according to Arora. He also goes on to say that 3 years ago, the application would have been bought at a fraction of the sum paid for it by Facebook.
As it is, it took nearly two years for the $19 billion deal to be finalized and based on how fast the WhatsApp user base kept expanding over this period, Facebook was unlikely to get it any cheaper.