Conquering the messaging app market: Q&A with Viber

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The promotional poster for Viber’s “We Love Cambodia” campaign. Supplied

To celebrate their latest milestone in Cambodia – achieving two million registered users – Viber, an instant messaging and voice over IP (VoIP) app, recently launched their “We Love Cambodia” campaign.

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To learn more about this campaign and about Viber’s strategy for expansion in the kingdom, Khmer Times’ Chea Vannak sits down with Anubhav Nayyar, the company’s head of business development for Southeast and South Asia.

KT: With Facebook and Telegram gaining ground in Cambodia, what is you strategy to remain a strong player in the local messaging app market?

Mr Nayyar: We have more than 900 million users across the world. We are a very popular messaging app. In Cambodia, we’ve seen significant growth in the last couple of months, and we will continue to focus on the kingdom in the future. For example, we are considering launching stickers exclusive to this market, which will require to strike up certain partnerships with key players and insiders in the country. The most important thing for us is to connect with Cambodian people and to cater our app to their preferences as much as possible.

We have multiple features that governmental organisations and private companies can use to connect with people. For example, we recently introduced chatbots that companies can use to communicate with customers. We also have hotlines running in various countries with organisations and government bodies using a Viber number to communicate with people. We have many other features to allow people to express their personality when they are messaging.

Anubhav Nayyar, Viber’s head of business development for Southeast Asia.
KT/Chor Sokunthea

KT: How is social media developing in the kingdom? What are the opportunities in this market?

Mr Nayyar: We have seen great growth in terms of internet and smartphone penetration. Smartphones have become very affordable and the number of people with access to mobile internet is growing fast. In fact, the growth in mobile internet penetration in Cambodia is one of the fastest in the region; perhaps the world. One of our goals is to help that growth continue.

We want everyone in Cambodia to use our app. We are all about connecting people freely, privately and safely. Our mission is very simple: to connect the user with their friends and families.

KT: You’ve already been very successful in markets like Myanmar, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. What strategies did you implement there to gain the trust of users?

Mr Nayyar: The situation in these countries is actually very similar to the one in Cambodia. Just like in the countries you mentioned, our strategy here is to offer country-specific content: features and stickers designed solely for this market. We recently launched the “We Love Cambodia” campaign, with stickers in the Khmer language. Our users love them, and they’ve been downloaded a lot. They like communicating in creative ways. We want to connect Cambodians in their mother tongue and allow them to communicate easily and creatively.

KT: Compared to Myanmar and the Philippines, the Cambodian market is quite small. How do you plan to monetise your service here?

Mr Nayyar: Each market is different, but some key principles hold true regardless of where you are. Everybody wants to use a platform for communication that truly caters to their personality and preferences. They want a platform that is secure and private. Finally, they want a platform that allows them to communicate in a variety of ways, like voice calls, messaging, etc.

KT: How does Viber ensure that conversations are kept private and are not accessible to third parties?

Mr Nayyar: For us, security and privacy are essential. With Viber, calling and messaging is free, but that doesn’t mean that privacy is compromised. Two years ago, we rolled out end-to-end encryption on all platforms. Safety is our utmost concern.

KT: How does Viber plan to contribute to the development of the ICT sector in Cambodia?

Mr Nayyar: We’ve been working with multiple organisations in different countries to make internet more accessible for everyone. Likewise, we offer a hotline service that governments can use for whatever they need, including crime prevention and healthcare. We are always happy to partner up with local organisations to help raise local living standards and increase internet access.

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