- WeChat, 400 million users
- Line, 200 million
- KaKao Talk, 100 million
- WhatsApp just announced 300 million.
Does Asia need another mobile chat app?
Based in Hong Kong, Maaii is led by Chris Lewis, former head of Skype Asia. You read the word, Skype. That must be the reason that the app also supports VoIP calls.
That’s where Maaii differentiates itself from players like WeChat and Whatsapp. Maaii thinks those apps are focused on the messaging space and are aiming to grow into larger social platforms, while Maaii is focusing on being the best voice app possible. Many users throughout Asia still deal with poor network infrastructure and high IDD rates.
Maaii has put substantial hardware investments into building a solid voice engine that can connect users for free, and a regional server (SBC) network that delivers stable high quality calls. This infrastructure sets it apart from other voice platforms which rely on cloud services and gives it more control over the stability of the service.
Video messages, Facebook calls and app-to-app calls are for free. Calls to mobile or landline numbers worldwide are at comparatively low rates. An open platform has been in place to encourage third party developers to build HD voice-enabled applications.
Apart from that Maaii offers everything, group chat, content & location sharing and stickers all those mobile chat apps do.
Its target markets are Asian countries, too. Maaii claims it has several million users in countries including Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait and Thailand. It now supports ten languages that include Chinese, but mainland Chinese only care about WeChat. The launch of Thai version last month created some momentum.
Maaii is particularly focused on countries and regions like Taiwan, Malaysia, and Thailand, where users still primarily use smartphone for voice and SMS communication, are very active over social networks, and still have to deal with high IDD and SMS rates.