The popular Hike Messenger instant messaging service on Monday claimed to have crossed the 20 million user milestone, with the last 5 million users joining in in the past 5 months itself.
The IM messaging service by Bharti SoftBank that was launched in December 2012, hit the 5 million user milestone in April 2013, and 15 million users in February this year. Hike also claimed that around 90 percent of the total 20 million Hike Messenger service users are from India, out of which over 80 percent are below the age of 25.
Hike also announced a new feature - Hidden Mode - which lets users keep their private chats hidden from others. Also touted was the recently introduced Big File Transfer feature, which lets users share any file type with a size limit 100MB.
"India has almost a 100M active mobile internet users in the country and that number is growing rapidly every year. That's the market, which we're building for. The rate at which hike messenger has grown in the last 18 months is phenomenal and is a strong testament of the right direction in which the product is steering. We will continue to focus heavily on introducing new and innovative features to bridge the existing gaps in the IM market in India," stated Kavin Bharti Mittal, Head, Product and Strategy, Hike Messenger, in a statement released Monday.
"Today, we're also excited to announce 'Hidden Mode' in hike. You can now hide your private chats, such that no one even knows they're hidden, and access them only with the right password. In a country like India, where teenagers stay with their parents and families; where their need for privacy is constantly challenged; we believe this feature could be a boon for all our users. We're building all these new features basis the feedback of our beta-users called the hike ninjas. This approach is working really well for us and going forward we expect it to help us grow even faster," he added.
In April, Hike Messenger introduced unlimited free SMS plan for its users. According to the plan, the more users chat on Hike, the more free SMS they will get and there is no limit to the amount of free SMS that can be earned.
Users will also get 20 free SMS from the company as they join Hike (Review) for the first time, and will get a quick one-time bump of 50 free SMS on a successful invite sent to their friends. Notably, the free SMS balance lapses if a user remains inactive for more than 30 days.