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This article was published on June 28, 2013

    Chinese flirting app Momo targets monetization with introduction of premium membership and stickers

    Chinese flirting app Momo targets monetization with introduction of premium membership and stickers Image by: MARK RALSTON
    Josh Horwitz
    Story by

    Josh Horwitz

    Josh Horwitz is an intern for TNW based out of Taipei, Taiwan, where he enjoys studying Mandarin, translating forgotten Taiwan independent f Josh Horwitz is an intern for TNW based out of Taipei, Taiwan, where he enjoys studying Mandarin, translating forgotten Taiwan independent films, playing German board games, and rowing on his dragon boat crew team. You can find him on Twitter at @HorwitzJosh, and can email him at [email protected]

    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.

    Related: One in a billion: How technology is transforming dating in China

    ➤ Download Momo for iOS | Android

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     Top Image Credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images