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October 2015

Global Indonesian Voices

But what is next for mobile in Indonesia? The answer to that question lies in messaging apps. There is no denying that messaging ecosystems in Asia are expanding, and in fact, it is probably time to stop calling them “messaging apps”. As of the first quarter of 2015, WeChat and LINE had 549 million and 205 million active monthly users respectively. It is little wonder that messaging apps are now the go-to channels to reach the masses.

How your life is controlled by messaging apps

by Acacia Leroy

Messaging platforms hold massive opportunities to make life more convenient. So Indonesia, are you ready for the age of messaging-controlled life?

According to a recent report by We Are Social, there are 308.2 million mobile connections in Indonesia. This means for every one person in the country there are 1.21 mobile subscriptions.

It follows that for anyone looking to innovate in the region – may it be brands, businesses or entrepreneurs, mobile is the way to go. But what is next for mobile in Indonesia? Looking at the trend sweeping through the rest of Asia Pacific, what can Indonesians expect in the near future?

The answer to that question lies in messaging apps. There is no denying that messaging ecosystems in Asia are expanding, and in fact, it is probably time to stop calling them “messaging apps”. As of the first quarter of 2015, WeChat and LINE had 549 million and 205 million active monthly users respectively. It is little wonder that messaging apps are now the go-to channels to reach the masses.

People can now expect more smart brands and businesses to start using messaging apps, not simply as shopping and content channels (cute LINE stickers, anyone?), but to offer lifestyle solutions, solve social issues, provide services, and more.

This trend is already evident in China, where the Shanghai city government launched WeChat City Service, allowing users to access public services – from making medical appointments at public hospitals to applying for visa services – through the messaging app.

In Japan, luxury fashion house Burberry partnered with LINE, allowing users to stream Burberry autumn/winter 2015 runway through the app in real time. Earlier this year also saw LINE launch a grocery delivery service in Thailand. Users can place their orders on a variety of goods through specific accounts for free next-day delivery.

The other messaging giant in Asia, WhatsApp, has announced that it will stay purely as a messaging platform. But it does not mean that brands are not latching on to it to provide services. One example that is particularly relevant for Indonesia is done by The Delhi Police Department in India. They launched an anti-corruption helpline on WhatsApp, encouraging citizens to send in audio or video clips if they witness policemen seeking bribes on the street.

All in all, messaging platforms hold massive opportunities to make life more convenient for Indonesians. Their merits certainly go beyond allowing stressed urbanites entertain themselves by sending each other talking Syahrini stickers. So Indonesia, get ready for the age of messaging-controlled life.