Speaking at AllThingsD’s Dive Into Media conference, while he wouldn’t be drawn into exact numbers, he did say that it was upwards of the 200-million mark, more than Twitter at present.
He said that the service was seeing eight billion inbound messages and 12-million outbound messages per day. Facebook is processing a mere 10 billion.
And despite starting to charge $0.99 (66p) a year for the service there has been no drop off in numbers. Currently, the iOS app is the only version not to have regular fees. But, as the company announced in March the iPhone version will become subscription-based by the end of the year. Existing users will be grandfathered into the new pay structure.
Koum also said that the WhatsApp team had fewer than 50 engineers and no plans to cash in on the user base.
“We do have a manifesto opposing advertising,” said Koum. “We’re proud of that. Who likes advertising? We’re so bombarded with ads so much in our daily lives and we felt that smartphones aren’t the place for that. You don’t want to be interrupted by ads when you’re chatting with your loved ones.”
But he left the door open to making more money from the service in future. “We’re looking forward to a world with billions of phones and once that happens it’s going to be extremely easy to monetise,” he said.