Tencent Holdings Ltd, China’s largest listed Internet company, announced on Wednesday that its popular messaging app WeChat had 438 million monthly active users during the second quarter of 2014, up 10.6 percent from 396 million the previous quarter.
But WeChat’s quarter-on-quarter growth rate is notably flattening compared to last year. In 2013, active users grew between 15 percent and 30 percent, compared to the 11.6 percent and 10.6 percent gains registered in the first two quarters this year, said the Sohu report.
The slowdown is due to the saturation of the mainland Chinese market. Although the total population in the market exceeds 1.3 billion, WeChat still has to compete with other messaging apps including WhatsApp and smaller domestic players.
In the meantime, after disclosing its overseas users exceeded 100 million last year, the Chinese IT giant didn’t reveal further relevant data afterwards.
WeChat’s 438 million monthly active users is now on par with Whatsapp, which in April claimed its active users have hit 500 million worldwide. Some other strong rivals, including Japanese’s chat app Line, have been banned on the Chinese mainland since July.
But WeChat is also facing challenges in its base market due to stringent regulations. The Chinese government recently demanded all public account holders on chat apps – including WeChat – to register with their real identities and obtain permission to disseminate news.
In June alone, Tencent terminated the services of over 30,000 "fake" public accounts in WeChat, which also closed 20 million WeChat accounts due to "pornographic content", according to the Sohu report.