The one-upmanship among Asian messaging apps just isn’t letting up. On Sunday Tencent announced via a press release that WeChat has managed to top the Indonesian App Store and Google Play following a massive TV advertising campaign and its partnership with Indonesian media company MNC Media group. Tencent claims that it has recorded 30 times more downloads since the ad was aired the first time in Indonesia.
Just over a week ago Naver announced that Line was the number one free app Google Play but apparently Tencent’s WeChat surged in popularity, pushing Line down to second place. The current top three app on Google Play are WeChat, Line, and WhatsApp, signifying the tight competition among messaging apps in the country. Unfortunately for fellow newcomer KakaoTalk, it has dropped out of the top 50, sitting at number 52 among the top free apps on Google Play although in terms of numbers it’s still pretty popular.
On the Indonesian App Store however, WeChat itself is no longer the top free app as of this morning. Its position was retaken by Icon Pop Brand, the popular free game by Jakarta-based software company Alegrium. Tencent also said that the app has gone to number two on BlackBerry World with its Push to Talk, moments, emoticons, and voice messaging.
Tencent was recently named as one of the most innovative companies in the world by Fast Company for “pushing the Chinese people to speak up”. In just two years, WeChat has gained more than 300 million users worldwide although the majority are still in China. The company is aggressively expanding its reach into Southeast Asia, Russia, and the United States.
In terms of download numbers however, WhatsApp and Skype still reign the mobile messaging landscape. The standings on Google Play and App Store are based on the download numbers and growth rate over the previous week. In other words, while WhatsApp and Line have more downloads overall than WeChat on Google Play, the 3000% increase in one week has pushed the app to the top of the charts.
This probably shouldn’t surprise anyone since WeChat is still the newer app among all the popular messaging apps in terms of officially being introduced to the country and therefore will have more downloads following its formal introduction.
In a country where traditional media still hold the most reach and the most influence among the middle class, TV advertising is still the more effective promotional tool. TV viewership is still high in Indonesia and a TV advertisement starring a currently popular teen-star is an easy way to reach the massive youth population in the country.
The WeChat TV commercial doesn’t seem to have been officially posted online but it’s available on YouTube regardless.