Momo has already reached 20 million users and managed to get users to produce 100,000 groups of interest. Users exchange approximately 70 million messages every day, making it a new and formidable competitor to other similar apps in China and abroad.
According to China Renaissance, Momo has already completed its round B of financing involving two influential investment institutions. Though the company has so far not made money, it is already estimated to be valued at $100 million USD.
Momo’s COO Wang Li, however, gave a sober assessment of Momo’s progress. Mr. Li believes that after a while, users get tired of LBS exchanges, because eventually there is a certain amount of social pressure to talk and respond to people. They admit, for instance, that the number of active users has slowed.
Though for some time the monthly increase in users was approximately 100,000 and later slowly rose to 200,000, then 500,000, and in 2012 to 1 million, the users are less attentive to the app than before. Every month approximately 3 million users are added, but Momo is looking for the next step.
According to CEO Tang Yan, since 1949 Chinese people have typically been wary of strangers and have turned inward. In public places, there is little interaction between strangers. Yet at the same time, there is a very high density of people in urban locations. This makes it important to have a social tool for people to interact. But it is still not enough to simply talk to strangers.
This is perhaps why they have chosen to change direction. From now on, they claim they will be putting a greater focus on the community and on groups. The basic function of Momo is IM, but one cannot simply rely on this. By focusing on group chats, there will be less pressure on individuals to chat because there are many speakers, says Wang Li, and adding LBS functions will make it easier to meet. This is one feature that other programs do not have.
The first stage was to solve the problem of meeting people nearby. The next stage will be to change the traditional model for meeting people and leverage the common interests of people so that they can meet each other. Through user-generated content and point-of-interest content, they will be able to create a richer experience, says Mr. Tang.
This is why next year Momo is set to release version 3.0 of their app, which will add new interactive features and content enhancements. Additionally, they will be rebranding or redesigning the image of Momo. Mr. Tang went so far as to say that they may even consider changing the name.