Why WhatsApp Is South Africa’s Favourite App

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Written by Staff

By Toby Shapshak | From Forbes

As WhatsApp launches its web app for iOS – porting the 900 million-strong messaging service to allow iPhone users to send and receive messages through a browser – the top country it’s used in (South Africa) offers a timely reminder of just how good a messaging service it is. It is often the first or second app people install on their new smartphones, research shows.

Indeed, when South Africa’s President laughed at his critics in the country’s Parliament over the controversial $18 million the government paid for “security upgrades” to his personal home in the rural KwaZulu-Natal province, a hip-hop remix featuring a sample of his laugh went viral. But, if you find the song about the corruption scandal on YouTube, it has a paltry 28,743 views.

The reason for this is most people shared the video via WhatsApp, the hugely successful messaging app that Facebook bought for $22bn and which now has 900 million active users.

“WhatsApp has already achieved ubiquitous status in South Africa as the instant messenger of choice, beating Blackberry Messenger and WeChat in terms of popularity,” Lehlohonolo Mokenela, an ICT industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan, said earlier this year.

Mokenela’s comments are part of a report titled “WhatsApp has Changed the South African Mobile Industry Overnight”. This assertion is based in part on the suspected success of the recently released voice calling via WhatsApp feature. The feature has proved hugely popular in South Africa by all accounts, although no figures are available for its usage yet.

Read more at Forbes