WhatsApp passes the 500m user mark

23 Apr 2014

Mobile messaging service WhatsApp has reached another milestone in its brief life as the company announces that it has passed the 500m user mark worldwide.

The announcement was made on their website’s blog and heralded the effect the app was having in the developing world and also some of the largest countries on the planet.

The company has entered the latter stages of its estimated US$19bn takeover by Facebook and for its founder Mark Zuckerberg, it’s already looking like a shrewd investment given its user numbers and his plans to bring internet to every location on the planet as part of the internet.org project.

The statement said: “Thanks to all of you, half a billion people around the world are now regular, active WhatsApp users. In the last few months, we’ve grown fastest in countries like Brazil, India, Mexico, and Russia, and our users are also sharing more than 700m photos and 100m videos every single day. We could go on, but for now, it’s more important that we get back to work – because here at WhatsApp, we’re just getting started.”

India has quickly made itself the dominant market for WhatsApp with 48m users in the country alone and has begun working with mobile operators there to launch SIM cards pre=loaded with free unlimited WhatsApp messaging capability, just like it has already undertaken with Germany.

According to WhatsApp’s CEO Jan Koum, the app will look to continue the same service it’s been offering and just make sure that any bugs in the programming are taken care of: “We don’t have anything huge we’ve changed in our last six months, but we’ve had probably 1,000 little bug fixes and improvements.”

WhatsApp image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic