Created by GreenTomato Limited (Green Tomato), TalkBox is an easy way to communicate via voice messaging like a walkie talkie; remember them? Unlike popular text messaging apps like Whatsapp or Kik, TalkBox is not text based.

From its inception in 2003, the Hong Kong based mobile solutions consultancy develops mobile platform solutions, mobile contents, games, communities and mobile native applications for clients such as Disneyland and Pizza Hut. To get more insight into the team behind the recently wildly popular, TalkBox Voice Messenger we interviewed Jacqueline Chong, the Director of Marketing of TalkBox Limited.

iPhone changed everything

When GreenTomato first started, they were building WAP apps.  Now they are building applications on iPhone, Android, Blackberry, J2ME, Symbian, and Windows Mobile. The explosion of iPhone has fuelled the growth of Green Tomato, to become a 100 strong team across Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Qatar.  GreenTomato also owns a joint venture mobile advertising network, Hotmob.

Walking the talk

Although GreenTomato is mainly an outsourced developer and made over 100 apps for clients, one of the founders Benny Leung and Sunny Kok believed that to keep up with technology and keep the creative juices flowing, they should develop their own apps. In 2009, they made the Hong Kong Movie app, which allowed you to check movie schedules, find cinemas and buy tickets. In 2010, they came across the problem of taking too long to text someone, so decided to solve the problem with instant voice messaging instead with TalkBoxVoice Messenger.

How TalkBox works

You only need to select who you want to ‘talk’ to, press the ‘hold to talk’ button, speak and that’s it! “Even when I am too tired to talk to my mother, I can leave her a voice message and she is happy because it is more emotional than a text message.” Said Jacqueline.

The key feature of TalkBox is the group voice chat with up to 9 people, allowing you to share your location and a photo. To better connect with their users in China, TalkBox will later integrate with RenRen and Weibo

285% user growth over 1 month

“The aim is to make it so anyone can use TalkBox. It is even popular among parents and grandparents.” Said Jacqueline. In terms of geography, the app has garnered a huge following in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, USA, Australia, New Zealand and even Israel and Kuwait. They have grown from 260,000 users in March to over 1 million in April. The growth is mainly attributed to the impact of social media engagement and word of mouth.

Updating Android, expanding to Blackberry in 3 months

The team plans to expand their reach by making a traditional and simplified Chinese version as well as a Blackberry version to be launched in about 3 months. A new Android update will also be pushed soon.

Jacqueline also revealed that TalkBox has the potential to be integrated with other project collaboration tools such as a shared virtual white-board.

GreenTomato is especially motivated to allow everyone around the world to use their products. Even when you look at the website, it’s difficult to tell it is from Hong Kong. It’s great to see innovation to emerge from Asia and be well received around the world!

Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.

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