WhatsApp founder Jan Koum said Friday the messaging app now has 800 million users globally. Having added 100 million since January, the service looks set to top a billion users by the end of the year.
Facebook, you may recall, picked up WhatsApp for a staggering $19 billion back in February 2014.
The cross-platform app is yet to turn a profit, though this doesn’t appear to be an issue as Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has said in the past he wants to focus on building up the service’s user base before he thinks about monetization.
Zuckerberg has said on several occasions that while he expects WhatsApp to become an important revenue generator for his business as a whole, he won’t consider a serious money-making strategy till the service tops a billion users. Of course, the wait – now only a matter of months – is no hardship for Facebook, which currently rakes in billions of dollars each quarter thanks to the popularity of its social networking service.
However, it’s not clear how WhatsApp will eventually generate income, as Koum has often voiced his reluctance at the idea of putting ads on the messaging service.
While the app has a raft of competitors – Tango, Viber, Line, Kik, BBM, and WeChat among them – none has a user base as big as WhatsApp’s. And the speed at which it’s growing is certainly impressive. Facebook took around eight years to reach a billion users, while WhatsApp looks set to achieve the same feat in about six.