Hike isn’t one of the most prominent messaging apps in the West, but in its home market of India it has signed up more than 100 million users.
Now the company has raised a funding round that will send ripples around the world: $175m from Chinese technology firms Tencent and Foxconn.
The round values Hike at $1.4bn according to TechCrunch, for an app that was originally launched in India in late 2012 as a joint venture between local Telco Bharti and Japanese tech firm SoftBank.
Hike hasn’t released any stats for active users, only registered ones, but of those 100 million people who’ve signed up, 90% are younger than 30 years old, while by the end of 2015 they were exchanging 40bn messages a month.
Like messaging apps in Asia, Hike has diversified beyond pure communication: it has games, news, stickers and vouchers, with plans to add payment features in the coming year.
Tencent is emerging as a key player in the messaging world: it owns WeChat in China, and has invested in Snapchat and Kik in the west, and now in Hike for India.