The Icons for WhatsApp and Hike Messenger; Picture Credit: Tanvi Chaugule

WhatsApp in India is a huge deal, even Mark Zuckerberg says so. The founder of Facebook recently said that WhatsApp is not only used for personal communication, it is also a great channel for business interactions.

WhatsApp began in 2009 and is now owned by Facebook. Situated in Mountain View, California, the company recently decided to launch video calling option on WhatsApp. This is a giant step for fulfilling the demands of customers, especially from India.

With around 160 million active users, India is WhatsApps largest base. It constitutes almost 16% of its total user base in the world.

In India, a number of business enterprises use WhatsApp for communication. It offers the option of 10 languages, thus increasing its usage in Tier 2 cities and rural areas.

However recently, WhatsApp has started facing stiff competition from Hike Messenger. Founded in 2012 by Kevin Mittal, son of Sunil Mittal, Hike Messenger has already joined the coveted Unicorn Club of Indian startups.

It has successfully raised $175 million in a fresh round of funding led by Tencent Holdings and Foxconn Technology Group in August this year end and is currently valued at almost $1.4 billion.

Hike has been the fastest startup to become a unicorn. It took only three and a half years as compared to other Indian startups like Flipkart which took five years, and Snapdeal which took seven years.

Apart from that, Hike is the only company that has no revenues to show, but it does have 100 million users who send more than 1 billion messages per day.

Arpan Sheth, partner, Bain & Company, says there are credible benchmarks like WeChat, SnapChat and Twitter to compare with Hike, he added, “With 120-150 minutes per user per week, Hike has created stickiness. In this business the challenge is creating high levels of engagement and Hike has shown that promise.”