The late entrant Jio Chat has launched with both video and voice calling services.
Even the Chinese have a comfortable share. Hike, the first Indian IM service, is growing fast but is still a long way from the top league.
To gain further reach, companies have started offering more than only texting functions.
WhatsApp recently upgraded to calling. The late entrant Jio Chat has launched with both video and voice calling services. Which is what could help it leap ahead.
Jio Chat's interface is similar to WeChat's. There's a big text box, on top of which are the chat, video, call and SMS options.
Unlike WhatsApp, contacts in Jio Chat are imported from your phone automatically. Those who don't have Jio Chat carry a green "Invite" box beside their name.
The video calling interface is like in Skype. But image and voice quality on each side of the call will depend on the network quality on that side.
During a video call, though my friend in Jamshedpur could see and hear me clearly, his image was too noisy and his voice kept breaking. Jio Chat also has an option for group video calls.
A new feature in Jio Chat is "Channels" that is like Facebook's "Follow" or "Page" feature. If you like the MTV India channel, Jio Chat will keep you posted about its events.
Jio Chat's stickers again reminded me of WeChat, though I found these uninspiring and tacky.
Instant messaging apps: Users in India (as % of total)
Facebook Messenger: 42
Kik Messenger: 5
Kakao Talk: 3
Source: A November 28, 2014, report on GlobalWebIndex in Business Standard