Tencent has announced that its mobile messaging app WeChat ended the first quarter of 2014 with 396 million monthly active users, as its expansion beyond China continues.
WeChat ended 2013 with 355 million monthly active users. These figures include Weixin- the same app in China that goes by the different name.
WeChat’s surging growth puts the service close to its chief competitor WhatsApp.
That messaging app had 450 million monthly active users when it was acquired by Facebook in February for $16 billion. Both apps allow users to send text messages to each other outside of standard SMS.
The messaging category has become extremely popular, due in large part to app featuresets allowing users to sidestep SMS limitations and the ease with which users can share multimedia content, like video and photos. It also didn’t hurt that Facebook cast a light on the space with its massive WhatsApp buy.