Line has 300 million users, WhatsApp has a problem

These messaging apps have adopted different strategies to WhatsApp when it comes to attracting and holding onto users. For Line, messaging is a front door to an experience that then opens up to include games, photosharing, stickers, and a de facto app store, which drives downloads of its other apps, including Camera and Tools. Kik is really just a mobile Web browser that hosts its own HTML5 apps, which third-party developers can now build. KakaoTalk has its own virtual eBay. And in China, people use WeChat to pay for physical goods.

The messaging part, which is ostensibly these apps’ reason for existence, is actually an easily replicated commodity. It also happens to be all that WhatsApp has got.

I use WhatsApp because it does what I need the best and the people who I want to talk to regularly use it. I’m not necessarily loyal to WhatsApp, rather use it out of necessity, which might be the problem. If all of my friends and family move to Line or WeChat or whatever, I will too as long as the basic messaging functionality is in order; I’m not really into the other stuff these alternatives are offering.