Momo, one of China’s top mobile social IM app, applied to list their American depositary shares on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol “MOMO.”
According to Analysys International, Weixin, Mobile QQ and Momo ranked as the top three mobile social IM applications in China in terms of average MAUs, average DAUs and daily average length of usage per user in Q3 2014; and Momo ranked No. 2, after Weixin, in terms of the average number of times each user opens the application per day during the same period. It’s also one of top mobile social apps in China according to Nielsen.
Momo, founded in March 2011 by Tang Yan, Zhang Sichuan, Lei Xiaoliang and Li Zhiwei (most of whom are veterans of NetEase, and is based in Beijing), is a free location-based services instant messaging application for smartphones; it’s popular for making friends with nearby strangers. It was famous for being the app for getting laid and now Momo has been working hard to change that image.
Momo platform includes Momo mobile apps and a variety of related features, functionalities, tools and services that are provided to users, customers and platform partners.
As of September 30, 2014, Momo’s total number of registered users reached 180.3 million (up 160.8% YoY) with 60.2 million MAUs (up 112.8% YoY) and 25.5 million average DAUs (up 140.6% YoY). Users has set up a total number of 4.5 million groups on Momo.
Momo had 2.3 million paid members as of September 30, 2014, representing an increase of 659.9% YoY. Momo users sent a daily average of 655.2 million one-to-one messages, representing a daily average of 26 one-to-one messages per DAU, in September 2014; 63.5% of these messages were exchanged among people who had already followed each other.
Momo generated 63.0% of their net revenues from membership subscription fees in the first half of 2014. Other sources of Momo’s revenue are from mobile games (32%), paid emoticons and mobile advertising services (5%). Their revenues more than quadrupled from US$3.1 million in the second half of 2013 to US$13.9 million in the first half of 2014. They had net losses of US$3.8 million, US$9.3 million and US$8.3 million in 2012, 2013 and the first half of 2014, respectively.
The Momo Platform
Momo platform includes Momo mobile application and a variety of related features, functionalities, tools and services that are provided to users, customers and platform partners.
The Momo mobile app, which is available on Android, iOS and Windows platforms, enables users to establish and expand their social relationships based on locations and interests. Momo offers a personal and lively way for users to discover people nearby. Momo features various location and interest-based features, such as Nearby Users, Groups, Message Board, Topics and Nearby Events, multi-media instant messaging tools, as well as popular mobile games. The various functions are connected with each other. For example, Nearby People function features links to nearby Groups and Nearby Events.
Nearby People. This function allows users to find out the approximate distance from each other in real time and is the primary tool through which users can establish and expand their social relationships. In September 2014, Momo users on average refreshed their own Nearby People lists 167.0 million times every day.
Once Momo mobile app is launched on a smartphone, the default page presents a curated list of nearby users with their profile pictures, precise distance from the nearby users and the time they last checked-in on Momo prominently displayed. The list of nearby people is by default ordered by proximity to the application users.
All users can customize the list by viewing nearby people by gender and a specific period of time within which the nearby people last checked in. Users can initiate contact with nearby users by sending greeting messages and selecting to follow their accounts in order to receive notifications on their status updates.
A user who receives a greeting message may then reply and choose to become a Momo friend of the initiator by also following such user. Users can adjust their privacy settings to avoid being seen by strangers or to appear invisible. Momo app also allows users to block other users and report inappropriate behaviors. Momo members may further filter the list of nearby users by age group, occupation, horoscope and whether the nearby person has linked his or her Momo account with other popular social network applications.
Momo push notifications include status updates, greetings from nearby users, chat messages and location of Momo friends. The app will also notify users when their Momo friends come within close proximity. It also keeps users up-to-date on the latest postings in their groups, as well as groups that their Momo friends have joined.
User Profile. This function allows users to share basic personal information and interests and encourage interactions. To begin the Momo experience, after downloading and installing the application, each user is asked to fill out a profile featuring pictures and detailed personal information, such as name, age, horoscope, occupation, employer, school, relationship status, date of registration with Momo, groups and topics joined, interests, accounts at other social network applications, frequent places of appearance and a personal note.
Members can also post a voice recording as part of their profile. The profile page also contains a link to a chronologically arranged display of status updates, blogs and pictures posted by the user, allowing the user to share his or her experience and interest. Users viewed personal profile pages on Momo platform an average of 446.3 million times on a daily basis in September 2014.
Momo have developed a tiering system whereby each user is assigned one of six scores based primarily on his or her behavioral patterns, profile credibility, degree of engagement, and quality of interactions with other users. Each user can monitor the score on his or her profile page. A user can generally improve his or her tiering score by demonstrating a pattern of wholesome social behavioral, a credible social profile, active engagement and high quality interactions with other users.
Momo Groups. Momo App allows users to create and participate in location-based groups acrossresidential complexes, educational institutions and commercial buildings. Participation in location-based groups has been increasing among our users, as 44.7% of Momo DAUs in September 2014 have joined at least one group, up from 33.9% in September 2013.
Momo users viewed group profile pages on Momo platform an average of 49.3 million times on a daily basis in September 2014. Location-based groups are generally established around a certain topic of interest. Each group is given a shared Momo discussion page on which group members can discuss their common interests, post their photos and exchange messages. An average of 222.4 million messages in location-based groups were sent every day, representing a daily average of 208 messages sent per active group, in September 2014. A group in which users sent at least one message in the relevant period is considered an active group.
Momo users can create groups by first selecting a specific location around which the group is centered, which must be associated with a specific residential complex, educational institution or commercial building, and second, selecting a topic of interest for the group.
For example, a user can create a group for students at Peking University who are interested in photography. Momo limit the size of each group to 100 users in order to foster a closer, more engaged and interactive community. The maximum size of a particular group is determined by whether the group’s creator is a member and the activity level of the group, such as the frequency of messaging among users.
Momo app displays nearby groups created by users as ranked by proximity. A user must apply to join a nearby group, and membership admission is determined by the creator and managers of the group. In addition to the default distance-based listing of nearby groups, users are also able to search for groups using keywords. Momo also displays who among the people that a user has followed are members of a particular group.
Users can propose and organize offline events for the location-based groups. A separate page will be created for an event containing information about the activity such as type, venue and time, based on which group members can decide whether to join the event and confirm attendance. A list of confirmed attendees will be shown on the activity page as well.
Momo have established groups for mobile games players called Player Unions which provide users with increased opportunities to interact and foster closer social relationships.
Topics. Topics is another feature aimed at enabling users to discover other users with common interests. Topics present popular themes of interest to all users. Users who have joined a certain Topic, such as Fitness orPets, can post threads and interact with other users by replying to the threads. Users can view other users who have joined the same Topic, in the order of proximity. We also recommend popular Topics and threads to users based on their profiles. Users can also search for Topics that most interest them.
Message Board. An important entry point for users to interact with all other users nearby is our Message Board function. Message Board contains status updates, micro-blogs and photos posted by nearby users, facilitating connections between people in the same neighborhoods and among Momo friends. Users can comment on the postings made by others, which are arranged by proximity. Users posted a daily average of 16.4 million messages and comments on our Message Board in September 2014. On average, 71.0% of our DAUs viewed Message Board in September 2014.
Nearby Events. Momo publicize events taking place in various Chinese cities close to users, such as concerts, seminars, sport events, plays and exhibitions cooperating with leading event promoters and ticketing platforms in China to upload information about popular events onto Momo.
Event hosts can open a Momo account and promote their events on the platform by submitting a description of the event. Once Momo approves an event submission, it will appear on Nearby Events page. For highly popular events, Momo sales team will actively seek to partner with the hosts in order to promote Momo brand and potentially explore monetization opportunities.
Location Roaming. Users can view other Momo users through location roaming service in a randomly selected city around the world. For Momo paid members, the roaming function further allows them to actively select any location around the world and view a curated list of Momo users according to selected criteria. This function also allows travelers to get to know friends in a particular destination in advance.
Instant Messaging. Users can send text, emoticons, voice recordings, pictures and video messages to other users. Many of fun and trendy emoticons are inspired by characters in popular culture. One of the key features of Momo instant messaging function is that the dialogue window presents the distance between the two parties in real time. Senders can see whether their messages have been delivered to or read by the recipient.
The instant messaging feature also allows users to turn voice messages into text, share their location information and engage in multi-person group chats. Users can sync their chat histories with multiple devices. Momo have also embedded third-party applications in order to facilitate more interaction between users. Momo users sent a daily average of 655.2 million one-to-one messages, representing a daily average of 26 one-to-one messages per DAU, in September 2014.
Momo offer games developed by third-party developers and customized for the platform and user profile. Games on Momo platform are designed with a variety of themes, cultural characteristics and features to appeal to different segments of the game player community.
The games on Momo platform have rich social features and are developed to be enjoyed, shared and played among Momo friends. The users typically log into and play games with their Momo accounts. For example, in Momo’s popular mobile game Momo Craft (陌陌争霸), players compete with other Momo users for domination of castles in a fictitious kingdom. Such social features contribute to the high player stickiness of mobile games offered on our platform. As of September 30, 2014, games on Momo platform had been activated a total of 22.5 million times, with a total number of 16.1 million players.
Also read: The Rise of Mobile Social Media in China