Tencent published its earnings today for the second quarter of 2014, revealing a new milestone for its WeChat messaging app: it has risen to 438 million monthly active users, up from 396 million the previous quarter.

The new figure, which covers both WeChat and Weixin – the version Tencent offers in China — means that it is closing in on rival WhatsApp’s 500 million active users. However, it can also be seen that WeChat’s growth is flattening quarter-on-quarter, which means it may struggle to catch up to its Facebook-owned competitor.

WeChat is also facing difficulties in China, where its largest userbase is. Recently, the Chinese government forced all public account owners on chat apps in the country to register with their real identities and obtain permission to disseminate news, and embarked on a “clean-up” of instant messaging services which saw 20 million WeChat accounts closed due to links with prostitution.

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