I guess in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, every young man knows Jay Chou, a super super star who is a musician, singer-songwriter, music and film producer, actor and director. I mentioned his name here not because I am his fan (and I am definitely not), and the reason is that he just invested a mobile messaging app, called 31SMS. The mission is quite clear, to beat Whatsapp in Taiwan and maybe later in China.

We’ve written about several local mobile messaging apps. Be honest, 31SMS is the one we’ve never heard of before. Well, it’s true we don’t know Taiwan market that much (so readers, please leave your comments if you know: which are the leading mobile messaging apps in Taiwan?). I’ve tried 31SMS’s iOS version, and I have to say it’s a very disappointing product. But fair enough, I guess Jay needs time to learn how to make a good app.

On 31SMS’s official site, we read,

The term Trinity came from an idea in the Bible about the combination of three entities, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, into one being. Using the Trinity as our inspiration, we have coined this 3 in 1, or simply 31, in the name of our new application 31SMS.  In this application we have developed a system for transmitting “Text, Pictures, and Video” to nearly any country you wish.

So it’s clear that like Whatsapp, 31SMS also allows its users to send Text, Pictures, and Video message to any other users for free. But, what surprised me is 31SMS got its patent technology, titled System and Method of Automatic Multi-media Mail. I could not get time to read through that patent doc, but I am wondering it will be kinda of threat to Whatsapp or other mobile messaging apps?

31SMS does comes with several interesting features. Scheduled SMS allows users to send the message to friends at certain time or at repeat time (weekly, monthly, annual). The Channel comes with a few channel such as music channel, English education, radio, job news etc where users can subscribe. It seems for me that the Channel is perfect for Jay to distribute his stuff such as music, video show etc.

Jay has millions of fans in Chinese world, which sounds super easy for him to acquire the users for 31SMS, but how?

Dr. Gang Lu - Founder of TechNode. He's a Blogger, a Geek, a PhD and a Speaker, with passion in Tech, Internet and R'N'R.

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  1. Whatsapp is already VERY popular here in Taiwan – I’ve never heard of this 31SMS app, and if they’re not doing a single thing differently to Whatsapp, I don’t see what the attraction is to change if all your friends already have Whatsapp.

    Furthermore, I actually don’t understand what business model Whatsapp has planned or this for that matter – as there’s no ads (yet). Just doesn’t seem like a very wise investment. Sure Jay could use his celebrity to market the product, but I just think it’s a lost cause at this point.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Alex.

      I think all the whatsapp or kik services, the monetization model is not clear yet… but most important mission for them at this stage is: user acquisition,… once they got millions of users, it’s time to think how to get them to pay for something… maybe subscribe Jay’s online album… 🙂

  2. I’ve also never heard of 31SMS. I use WhatsApp on occasion but the problem is that it’s phone-only so I end up using gTalk more when I’m on my computer.

    Also, since I’m on an Android, I got WhatsApp for free for the first year but when it expires I doubt I’m going to pay for it because it doesn’t really stand out to me. And with gTalk being free (and tons of other services) I just don’t see the compelling need.

  3. uhh i really wanna try that application in my blackberry. why didnt jay make it for blackberry too? 🙁

  4.  i china i phone 5 s   &  i wan to install whats Apps  will u say how to download whats apps

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