Rakuten Viber, one of the world’s leading apps for free and easy communication, has recorded an overall increase in app usage across the Asia Pacific (APAC) region in 2020. It was a year marked by massive changes in how people communicate and interact with each other as caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the Asia Pacific region, the application ended the year with a 421% growth of users in December 2020. In the same period, Viber also recorded a 509% growth in messages sent and a massive surge in messages sent to groups. Viber’s Communities Feature experienced the most robust growth in Community Messages Sent. These 2020 growth numbers were based on the data recorded in the same period in 2019.
All of these makes 2020 one of Viber’s strongest years in its 10-year history as specific markets in the APAC region like Bangladesh also logged notable growth rates when data from January 2020 and December 2020 are compared.
In Bangladesh, Viber has witnessed a 72% growth in activations versus last year. Based on the numbers logged on Viber, it seemed that Bangladeshis spent more time on Viber Communities last year as users who viewed Communities jumped up to 149% and messages sent to Communities grew by 116%. They were also texting, audio calls, video calling, and using chat extensions more. Viber has witnessed an increase in Video Calls by 40% and usage of Chat Extension by 47%.
To continuously provide its users with top-notch service and enhance their app experience, Viber in 2020 also introduced new features such as My Notes that enabled users to sync their to-do lists and media across all their devices. Birthday Reminders has helped users to know which person in their contact list celebrates their special day. Disappearing Messages have allowed people to limit the lifespan of sensitive texts, whereas GIF Creator brings out every user’s creativity.
As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic that forced people to increase their online interactions, Viber last year also bolstered its capacities and doubled the maximum number of participants to 20 people at once in Group Video and Audio Calls. The app also entered into key partnerships that provided users with life-saving information about COVID-19.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a Viber chatbot that answers some of the people’s pressing questions on the coronavirus. UNICEF Bangladesh, Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, and ICT Division have created their own Viber Chatbot and Community to provide crucial information about the country.
Continuing its mission to put its users at the center of its operations and protect their privacy within the app, Viber decided in 2020 to cut all business ties with Facebook for continuously mishandling user data for profit. The messaging app, which considers security as one of its pillars, pulled out all its ad spending on the social media platform and removed the Facebook Connect and GIPHY features within the app.
“The year 2020 has changed the world immensely – the way we work, connect, operate businesses, and many more. The pandemic has wreaked havoc in numerous people’s lives, taught us many things, and led to surprising discoveries. We have witnessed how resilient the people of Bangladesh, along with the world, has been. They are finding ways to survive and even thrive in it. At Viber, we are inspired by their fighting spirit. It adds value to our work and the impact we might have on our users, especially during a crisis,” says Anna Znamenskaya, Chief Growth Officer at Rakuten Viber. “As another year begins, we promise to continue and maintain our policy to protect the users’ privacy at all touchpoints. Additionally, we will continue to work hard and bring more innovative features that will create more convenience in our users’ lives and connect them to what matters the most.”
Rakuten Viber also marked its 10th anniversary in 2020 and revealed plans to turn the messaging platform into an all-in-one or lifetime app by introducing new capabilities and features, starting with the launch of Chatbot Payments that allow users to securely purchase products and services from merchants and accept payments directly through the app.
Just like in the past decade, the welfare of the users remains to be Rakuten Viber’s top priority moving forward, as it prepares to provide them with game-changing features without diluting their commitment to data security and privacy.
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