Bullet Messenger (子弹短信)’s daily downloads and app store ranking has fallen off a cliff since its launch.
On September 27th, its daily downloads dropped significantly to below 6000 times, according to local media (in Chinese). To put it into context, the app was being downloaded nearly 568,000 times of per day at its height roughly a month ago.
There have been signs showing that the messaging app is quickly losing traction. The app was criticized not only for lax security settings but also for failing to keep vulgar content in check.
As the craze around the WeChat rival starting to cool down, the real challenges such as user stickiness and acquisition started to become apparent.
Industry insiders believe that for a latecomer like Smartisan, attracting users, gaining market share can be a great disadvantage. Bullet Messenger’s biggest competitor, WeChat, currently has 1 billion monthly active users.
Luo Yonghao, CEO of Smartisan, admitted in a Weibo post (in Chinese) that Bullet Messenger’s basic features are not yet polished. After experiencing an explosive growth, the app has now entered a period of steady growth which within normal expectations. Luo added that the team is now pushing out weekly software updates hoping to improve the product.
Luo’s attitude seems a far cry from three weeks ago when he announced Bullet Messenger ambitious plans to spend RMB 1 billion in the next 6 months to add 100 million users to its network.
A few weeks ago as it celebrated its first month anniversary, the app released monthly figures, which shows that it had amassed 7.48 million users. When it launched last month, the company quickly gained a lot of media attention and held the top spot on China’s iOS app store for 9 days and was the most downloaded social networking app for 13 days.