Asian Chat Apps Suggest Mobile Environments Trump Interfaces

July 19, 2016 - 2 minutes read

Line, a massively popular mobile messaging app from Japan, went public last week, jumping over 50% in it’s first day on the market. Mobile app developers are looking at the Asian messaging titans (Line and WeChat) with renewed curiosity and many questions. Are immersive, all-encompassing social messaging apps the future? In five years, will apps as we know them perform as bots and AI assistants within other apps?

The future is uncertain, but we know one thing for sure: apps like Line and WeChat aren’t just interfaces, but rather full-fledged social environments. Mobile app developers can think of WeChat in particular as being Snapchat taken to the extreme — and if the trends continue, Snapchat is just the tip of the iceberg as western app developers race to adapt and update viral mobile concepts from fast-growing Asian countries.

Facebook’s recent push into AI bots and assistants for their own native mobile messaging app, Messenger, also goes to show how Silicon Valley may continue to adapt Asian app concepts. App developers don’t necessarily think of China when they think of mobile innovation, but WeChat can be thanked for the concept of shopping in the same place you text with your friends. Integrating “hangout places” with “shopping places” has proven critical to monetizing mobile startups in recent years.

Whether or not Line’s bubbly, sticker-driven popularity leaks to the west or not, we can rest assured that mobile environments will play a key role in the mobile market of the future. London iPhone app developers who plan their mobile ventures accordingly are sure to find long-term profits.

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