Rakuten, a Japanese e-commerce company and one of the largest of its kind in the Asian country, recently managed to agree a deal to buy Viber.
The app cost the company close to $1 billion, which has led to many questioning the value of the deal. Viber has more than 400 million users across the world with most of its revenue stream coming from sticker purchases. It offers the ability to make free calls across the world. Users can also send text messages as well.
Commercial Plans with Viber
It is estimated that users will be spending around $2 on these stickers, which works out to be net revenue of $800 million per year. Rakuten, though, has not bought Viber entirely for this purpose, as revealed by the global vice chief marketing officer of the company, Shin Hasegawa. He says that mobile e-commerce will continue to play a major role in the revenue stream of Viber, but the company plans to integrate Viber into the e-commerce division.
Following the Route of Rivals
E-commerce has been seen as the future of apps with several of the rivals featuring such options. Rivals such as WeChat and Line are incredibly popular in this regard. Viber hopes to take advantage of them in this segment, according to Hasegawa. The apps that allow making free calls and free text messages have become a huge burden for telecommunication companies. The net revenue from aspects like messaging has taken a huge hit after the growth in such apps.
Rakuten, however, is looking to cash in on the success. They have not only brought in Viber, which is free to download, but the likes of Kobo and Viki have also been brought under the arm of the company. He says that these plans are being made in order to offer services like travel booking, finance, and digital content available online all under one roof.
Integrating e-commerce into Viber
Founder and chief executive of the company, Hiroshi Mikitani has revealed that he wants to introduce e-commerce into Viber through aspects like e-books as well. Messaging platforms have been sold for huge amounts of money in recent years. As critics continue to be skeptical about the money paid for Viber, Facebook has stunned everyone with the recent $19 million acquisition of WhatsApp, which continues to remain the most popular of such messaging platforms with 500 million users.
New Features on Desktop Viber
The popularity of Viber has made it spread from being just a mobile app to a desktop application as well. The company has been taking extensive pains to make the Viber on desktop app extremely comprehensive. As expected, the updates are now available for the mobile app as well. They include the ability to block a contact, which will significantly help reduce spam and other unwanted contacts.
Now, Viber will also support sending multiple pictures at once. Previously, this was a cumbersome feature for those who tried to send many at once. Users can also switch to a one-on-one conversation when in the middle of a group chat.
Viber was already popular, but the acquisition by Rakuten is set to make it a comprehensive messaging platform.