The rapid growth of instant messaging (IM) applications in Asia has now grown manifold over the years with users increasingly going online through their mobile phones and other wireless devices to use these applications.
IM applications have now diversifying into games, e-commerce, celebrity news and other areas giving a strong challenge to the established online hangouts like Facebook, according to AP.
IM was initially used on desktops with applications including Microsoft Messenger which led to rise in text-based chatting and sharing files to the voice calls and video conferencing.
Gradually smartphones used the IM services through WhatsApp and Blackberry Messenger which enabled users with real-time chatting, swapping photos among many others.
Line, a messaging app, which currently has 60 million users, mostly in Asia including nearly 29 million in Japan, anticipates its users to reach100 million by the end of 2012.
Another messaging application Kakao Talk has 60 million users with more than half in South Korea.
The expansion of Line messenger to photo editing and sharing, social games and Twitter’s features that allow users to follow corporate brands or celebrities, have increased the sales of virtual goods.