How did Rakuten Viber do amid the uncertain first half of 2020?

The year so far hasn’t exactly been peachy, but the communications giant continues to bear fruit

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of uncertainties in many industries, and while losses are countless and impactful, the wins though not as many have also provided a ray of hope amid gloomy business forecasts.

The first half of 2020 brought a new set of experiences for the Rakuten Viber team, but also a new set of milestones. Throughout the Asia Pacific region, Viber’s performance has steadily grown, with a 208% growth in messages sent to Communities and a 129% jump in views in Communities compared to the same period last year. As it celebrates its 10th anniversary in December with an exciting lineup of surprises for users, Viber continues to develop as a lifetime app, empowering people to communicate securely, work conveniently, and connect with brands.

According to Viber latest report in the first half of 2020, Vietnam market shows a significant growth compared to the same period last year. Specifically, Daily Active Users in Vietnam increased by 18% and Daily Activation increased by 106%. Following that, the number of 1:1 messages surged by 20%, and the number of messages sent in the group increased by 43% while messages sent to community rose by 20% and group calls rapidly increased by 380%. Similarly, countries in the Asia-Pacific saw strong growth in the Community Engagement, with most countries almost doubling their numbers of Community Views, Myanmar at 106% growth, Sri Lanka at 118%, and Nepal at 195%, respectively. Bangladesh saw solid growth in their Community Views with their 77% increase.

With a bold vision to be a lifetime app, Viber has added several new user-centric features since the start of 2020 to complement the lives of users and provide them with a better app experience. These features are especially relevant now that people are hyper connected to virtual life. My Notes enabled users to sync their to-do lists and media across all their devices. Birthday reminders began appearing on users’ home pages to make it easier for them to know which of their contacts was celebrating their special day. Disappearing messages allowed people to set a limit to the lifespan of sensitive texts, while the one-of-a-kind GIF Creator brought out everyone’s inner creativity with its easy process of turning phone videos into GIFs.

Response to COVID-19 and Growth in Community Engagement

In response to COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent quarantine orders, Viber has increased its capacities and doubled the maximum number of participants to 20 people at once in Group Video and Audio Calls to address the restrictions on face-to-face interactions. Viber is also allowing users to react to messages in Communities, to help bring online communication a step closer to real life convos.

Viber has launched a special chatbot for the World Health Organization, allowing the international agency to share verified information on COVID-19 and answer some of the people’s pressing questions on the coronavirus all within their messaging app. The Philippines’ own Department of Health (DOH) has created its own Viber Community and Kira Chatbot  to amplify their online reach and effectively provide crucial updates on the situation in the country. DOH has also used the platform to debunk fake news.

In fact, the top health organizations in countries within Asia-Pacific partnered with Viber to help send verified information on the pandemic on a trusted and widely used platform, such as Myanmar’s Ministry of Health and Sports, Sri Lanka’s Health Promotion Bureau, ICT in Bangladesh, and Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population.

Cutting business ties with Facebook

One of the biggest decisions Viber did in the first half of the year was to cut all business ties with Facebook for continuously mishandling their user data for profit, joining other big companies in standing up against the social media juggernaut in protecting their users. The messaging app, which considers security as one of its core strengths, has immediately pulled out all its ad spending on the social media platform. It has also removed the Facebook Connect and GIPHY features within the app.

“Viber’s continued growth in the Asia Pacific Region shows that despite social distancing protocol imposed by the pandemic, people can continue to maintain quality connections that prioritize their privacy and ease,” says Anna Znamenskaya, Chief Growth Officer for Rakuten Viber. “These past few months, we’ve truly seen how Viber empowers people to make the most out of whatever situation they’re in. With just your smartphone and the Viber app, you can still connect with family and friends, earn a living, have fun online, get verified news, and run errands from the safety of your home.”

With such an impressive streak in the first half of the year alone, Viber vows to push harder to help users seamlessly integrate the messaging app into their lives as the world continues to brace for the long-term effects of the pandemic for the rest of the year and beyond.

“We envision Viber to be your go-to indispensable app that empowers you to accomplish more, and help you keep all those important connections with solutions that are all right at your fingertips,” adds Znamenskaya.


About Rakuten Viber

At Rakuten Viber, we connect people. No matter who they are, or where they are from. Our global user base has access to a range of features like one-on-one chats, video calls, group messaging, and updates and discussions with their favorite brands and celebrities. We ensure our users have a secure and free environment to share their emotions.

Rakuten Viber is part of Rakuten Inc., a world leader in e-commerce and financial services. It is the official communication channel of FC Barcelona, and the official instant messaging and calling app partner of the Golden State Warriors.

Join Viber today and enjoy the world’s best communication experience.


Press release distributed by EloQ Communications.