WeChat, the China-based messaging competitor to WhatsApp and LINE, now has 396 million monthly active users worldwide, according to the first quarter earnings report from parent company Tencent.
While an audience of nearly 400 million is impressive, BI Intelligence finds that WeChat’s growth is starting to slow.
- WeChat added an average of 14 million users per month during the first three months of 2014. That’s growth of 12% compared to the fourth quarter 2013.
- But that’s less than half the 28 million users added per month on average in the fourth quarter of 2013. During that period, total monthly active users grew 31% over the previous quarter.
- WeChat’s audience has more than doubled since first quarter 2013, growing 104%. WeChat added over 200 million users during that time.
- While audience growth may have slowed, gaming revenues, and the number of users who made purchases in games, soared. Tencent’s report says that the paying user base for mobile games more than doubled sequentially in the first quarter while mobile gaming revenue tripled sequentially.
WeChat still hasn’t managed to catch up to its chief competitor, Facebook-owned WhatsApp, which now boasts an audience over 500 million.
But for now, BI Intelligence finds that WeChat has been more effective than its messaging competitors — with the possible exception of LINE — in monetizing its user base. WeChat has done so through e-commerce, payments, games, stickers, and sponsored brand accounts.
BI Intelligence is a subscriber-only research service, covering a variety of tech industries, including mobile, social, e-commerce, payments, and video. For full access to all BI Intelligence’s charts and analysis — including downloadable Excel files — sign up for a free trial.
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