Taiwan Mobile revamps messaging app to fend off rivals

Taiwanese telco hopes updated mobile chat app will help double local user base to more than 4 million by February 2013, as it competes with the likes of WhatsApp and Line.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

Taiwan Mobile has unveiled a new version of its mobile messaging app in a bid to grow its user base amid increased competition from other similar apps including WhatsApp.

Jeff Ku, deputy chief operating officer of consumer business group at Taiwan Mobile, said the M+ Messenger currently has 2 million users, and that number is expected to more than double before the Lunar New Year period in February next year, Central News Agency (CNA) reported Thursday.

"We expect our company to become more than a telecom operator and we are targeting the trend of digital convergence," Ku said.

According to the telco, M+ Messenger reached 1 million downloads within three weeks of its launch last August, and was a top-ranked free app in Apple App Store and Google Play.

M+ Messenger allows users to purchase coupons online and send them to friends as gifts, which can be used in some 8,000 local retail stores and restaurants that Taiwan Mobile has partnered with, CNA reported.

The telco is aiming for the revamped app to claim market share from other popular mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Line. The Line app was launched in June 2011 by the Japanese subsidiary of Naver, a Web search portal owned by South Korea's NHN Corporation.

The report said an October survey of 100,000 smartphone users in Taiwan by local technology site APP01 found that 67 percent used Line and 17 percent used WhatsApp. In contrast, M+ Messenger was not cited as the users' first choice for messaging apps.

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