The world has fallen in love with chatting, and mobile phones have made this an easy thing to do – whether it is via voice, video, text or photo.
But what are the number one chat apps that you use to communicate both locally and globally? Is it WhatsApp, Viber, Snapchat or Line? That is determined largely by the part of the world where you live.
WeChat chat app dominates China; Kik is huge in Canada and the US; KakaoTalk rules OK in Korea; Line is a giant in Japan while in Arab, chat apps such as Soma and Palringo are dominant.
And as time goes by, more chat apps proliferate, as the technology firms emulate the examples set by the leaders.
Line raised about $1.3bn in July which raised the company’s valuation to $6bn. The chat apps are even investing in each other, with China’s WeChat leading a $175m funding round in India’s Hike network.
But will the market be able to accommodate all these platforms? Are they going overboard?
Earlier on, people depended on SMS and text messaging for communication, making the process impulsive. Then instant messaging took over with videos, photos and text.
But now people are able to access banking services via the chat apps.
How newcomers are changing the game
How are the upcoming platforms able to set themselves apart in a market that is already crowded?
The niche networks still have a role to play in what many may think is already full. For example, the London-based Palringo is a social chat platform that helps people find games that can be played in chat groups of up to 2,000 people.
As a result of this combination, Palringo managed to penetrate the UK market with 50% of its revenues coming from chat games.
As much as the chat apps do not seem to have gotten to the saturation point, the new comers are coming in with new innovations so as to get a space in the ever-expanding market.
Not all of them will survive, but with the forecast suggesting a global rise in the number of smartphones to three billion in 2020, it seems there is still a lot of chatting that will go on.