Brazil gets ICQ fever all over again

The instant messaging tool regains popularity and becomes the most downloaded app in the country.
Written by Angelica Mari, Contributing Writer on

Instant messaging tool ICQ has reached the number one spot on the list of most downloaded apps in Brazil, surpassing competitors such as WhatsApp and Facebook.

The app has hit the top of the most downloaded apps on the iTunes store and is growing at the rate of 100 downloads per minute. However, ICQ developer Mail.ru has been quoted by news portal G1 as saying that twice as many users have downloaded the Android version. 

icq copy
ICQ is the most popular app in the Brazilian iTunes store

The developers of the tool have said that the World Cup has been one of the factors contributing to ICQ's popularity in Brazil.

"It's the kind of event that makes people want to share their emotions, text everyone they know and call all their friends," Mail.Ru Group’s instant messaging director Igor Yermakov told ZDNet.

According to Yermakov, Brazilians are more sociable and send more messages per user. An example would be the number of stickers (illustrations of characters that represent emotions or actions) sent through the app, which has grown threefold since the app launch, with the Brazilian H=heart sticker becoming a top favorite within a matter of days.

ICQ was immensely popular in Brazil around the end of the nineties until the early noughties, when users started to migrate to Microsoft's alternative, then known as MSN Messenger. Mail.ru i says a million users have registered for the service in the first week of operation, but does not disclose how many Brazilian users from the old times are still active.

"The new generation of ICQ has been very well received in Brazil, we are getting a lot of positive feedback," says Yermakov.

According to the Mail.ru executive, the Russian company sees "great growth potential" in Brazil, but is not talking about investing further in the market for the time being, despite the initial reaction to the new version of ICQ.

"It's too early to talk about opening an office," Yermakov concludes.

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