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India’s unicorn messaging app Hike’s income drops by more than 65%


India unicorn messaging app Hike revenue has seen steep down in the financial year ended this March.

According to the filings with Registrar of Companies (RoC), total income for this year was more than half Rs 11.4 crore from last year Rs 34.9 crore. Total expenditure in FY 2017 was Rs 227.3 crore in compare to Rs 252.2 crore in 2016 prior. Net loss was Rs 215.9 crore whereas previous fiscal it was Rs 217.3 crore. Last year it had clocked Rs 42.32 lakh in operative revenue.

It earns majorly through coupons and games bought by users.

Founded in July 2012 by Kavin Bharti Mittal, it came out in a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Japan’s SoftBank Group. Hike was a first messaging company in India to reach the $1 billion valuation mark.

In August 2016, the messaging app, raised $175 million (Rs 1,170 crore then) from China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd, Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group and other investors. This took the total funding in the company to $250 million.

Nor WhatsApp neither Hike charge the consumer for their services. However, WhatsApp is a top messaging app with almost 201 million active users in India. Whereas Hike has around 100 million users.

To increase revenue, Hike founder Kavin is looking to replicate China-based live streaming app Inke, which earns through virtual gifts bought online, a model in India. For this revenue model, the platform has to rope in the live streamers, who get 30%, with the platform taking the rest. “This may take another 3-4 years to become reality in India”, Kavin said in an interview.

At present, almost 90 percent of its users are in India. Wechat also came to India in 2012 but didn’t see much traction as it faced tough competition from WhatsApp, which has a leadership position in the country.

Hike also launched many services including payments on its app in April this year, to gain more customers. It also made some acquisitions to increase the user base. The messaging-cum-wallet app had acquired InstaLively Livestreaming and a hyperlocal social networking app Pulse. It has also acqui-hired Bengaluru-based consumer technology startup Creo.

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