Momo, the Chinese app that lets you flirt with nearby strangers, has released an updated version with several enhanced features aimed at monetization.
According to QQ Net (h/t Tech in Asia), Momo users can now pay for an optional VIP membership, priced at $2 for one month or $17 for one year. Benefits to membership include extra avatars, the ability to follow more than 100 people, and more.
In addition, the app has opened a store that sells (wait for it…) stickers which can be obtained through the app’s virtual currency. This, of course, recalls similar monetization strategies of chat apps such as Japan’s Line and China’s WeChat.
Of course, Momo views itself as more than just a chat app, and since its inception served as more than glorified-SMS. The app over now has 40 million downloads, nothing to turn one’s nose up at, and therefore could be a prime candidate for the ‘platformization’ that chat apps Line and Kakao Talk are currently undergoing.
What’s worth paying attention to, however, is the role that smaller, specialized players like Momo will play as big guns like Line, Kakao, and WeChat grow their influence as market leaders in messaging. Last year Momo landed $40 million in funding (some of which was rumored to be from Alibaba), so we can expect it to grow for at least some time.
Momo is available for iOS and Android. An English version of the app is also available for international users, though the new updates currently only apply to the Chinese version.
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Top Image Credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images