Rakuten Viber, the mobile communication app, reported significant growth across Asia-Pacific despite the lingering presence of a virulent virus.
The company, boasting of more than 100 million registered users in the region, saw a 208-percent increase in messages sent to communities and a 129-percent jump in views in communities compared with the same period last year.
It said that in the Philippines, the series of lockdowns due to Covid-19, has contributed to the spike in Viber usage. In the first half of 2020, there was a 22-percent increase in outgoing calls; a 43-percent increase in daily activations; and an 18-percent growth in daily active users.
Community engagement experienced robust growth as well, with a2.5 times increase in community viewers and 2.7 times growth in messages sent within communities.
“The Philippine market and our Filipino users are very important to us,” said Anna Znamenskaya, chief growth officer for Rakuten Viber.
“Through the years, we’ve witnessed how Filipinos have embraced Viber as their communication platform of choice. Viber’s continued remarkable growth in the Philippines and the Asia Pacific shows that despite social distancing protocols imposed by the pandemic, people can still maintain quality connections that prioritize their privacy and ease,” she said.
“These past few months, we’ve seen how Viber empowers people to make the most out of whatever situation they’re in. With just your smartphone and the Viber app, they can still connect with family and friends, earn a living, have fun online, verify news and run errands from the safety of their homes,” Znamenskaya said.
Aiming to be consumers’ lifetime app, Viber recently added several new user-centric features. These include My Notes, enabling users to sync their to-do lists and media across all their devices; Birthday reminders, which appear on users’ home pages reminding them which of their contacts is celebrating a birthday; Disappearing messages allowing users to set a limit to the lifespan of sensitive texts; and GIF Creator which inspires creativity by turning phone videos into GIFs.
To address the Covid-19 restrictions on face-to-face interaction, Viber has increased its capacity in the group video and audio calls, raising the maximum number of participants to 20. It also allows users to react to messages in communities to help bring online communication closer to real life convos.
Viber launched a special chatbot for the World Health Organization, allowing the international agency to share verified information on COVID-19 and answer the public’s pressing questions on the coronavirus all within their messaging app. The Department of Health also created its own Viber Community and Kira Chatbot to amplify their online reach and provide crucial updates on the country’s health situation as well as debunk fake news.
Viber teamed up with the popular homegrown mobile game Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, providing gamers a space to connect with fellow fans and earn in-game credits through its own Viber Community and official sticker pack. ABS-CBN, one of the biggest media companies in the country, has boosted its presence on Viber after it failed to win a franchise renewal, setting up its own communities and releasing official Kapamilya Stickers for their supporters, not only in the Philippines but overseas as well.
Viber joined other big companies in the first half of the year to cut ties with Facebook for allegedly continuously mishandling their user data for profit. The messaging app, which considers security as one of its core strengths, immediately pulled out ad spending on the social media platform and removed the Facebook Connect and GIPHY features within the app.
Riding on its impressive performance streak in recent months, Rakuten Viber is well set to mark its 10th anniversary in December. Not content to rest on past achievements, the company vows to push harder to help users seamlessly integrate the message app into their lives as the world continues to brace for the long-term effects of the coronavirus.
“We envision Viber to be your indispensable go-to app that empowers you to accomplish more, and help you keep all those important connections with solutions that are all right at your fingertips,” said Znamenskaya.
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