The latest earnings report by Tencent, a Chinese Internet giant, has revealed that the cross-platform instant messaging service WeChat and its counterpart Weixin have hit a combined high of 235.8 million users monthly, an increase of 176.8% year-on-year.
WeChat's usage figure is just shy of that of WhatsApp, which exceeded 300 million monthly users last month and is currently the world's most popular cross-platform messenger. An update to WhatsApp last week provided one-tap voice messaging across all platforms.
WeChat's rise can be partially attributed to increased marketing efforts by Tencent, which owns WeChat, as the Internet giant attempts to establish a more solid presence in the mobile world.
The company recently signed Lionel Messi, an Argentinian footballer widely considered to be one of the best in the world, as its product ambassador and a recent report by GSMInsider revealed that 70 million WeChat users are located outside of China. The app is currently available on iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone and Symbian devices and is available in a number of different languages, including English, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Portuguese.
Although WeChat is similar to WhatsApp, the service is mainly tailored towards Chinese users. A recent update last week added the ability to purchase stickers from a built-in store and search for nearby friends using the "Hold Together" function. The Q2 earnings report showed that Tencent experienced a 156.5% year-on-year increase in "e-commerce transactions", which were up to RMB 2.199.4 million ($356 million).