Top instant messaging apps in Malaysia: WhatsApp vs WeChat vs FB Messenger

Top instant messaging apps in Malaysia: WhatsApp vs WeChat vs FB Messenger

How many WhatsApp, WeChat, FB Messenger, LINE users in Malaysia? Let’s find out!

Before we zoom in on Malaysia, let’s check out the top messenger apps by country

reported by SimilarWeb

as of December 2017 (on Android only).

From the 188 countries sampled:

  1. WhatsApp is #1 in 104 countries
  2. Facebook Messenger is #1 in 64 countries
  3. Viber Messenger is #1 in 10 countries
  4. LINE is #1 in 2 countries (Japan & Thailand)
  5. WeChat is #1 in 1 country (China)

If you look at the world map

illustrated by MessengerPeople

, pay attention to the WhatsApp’s green and Facebook’s blue, it seems like a world domination of messenger apps by Facebook (as Facebook owns WhatsApp).

Top messenger app by country (world map)

By referring to the map above, Viber conquers 10 European countries whereas LINE and WeChat are only dominant in 3 countries combined.

So, is Viber world’s no 3 after WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger?

Not really, if we refer to Statista from another data perspective. Check the chart below on top mobile messaging apps worldwide, based on the number of monthly active users.

Top messenger app worldwide (monthly active users)

If we rank by the number of users, WeChat is world’s no 3 after the big two, and QQ Mobile ranks 4th right after WeChat. As both apps are only mainstream in China, the users are mainly contributed by its 1.4B population.

On the contrary, LINE ranks 8th in the world, after the likes of Skype, Viber, and Snapchat. Completing the top 10 chat apps list are Telegram and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).

What about Malaysia? Let’s revisit this chart we used for the top 5 social media platforms in Malaysia earlier.

Most active social media platforms in Malaysia (2018)

Setting aside the social media platforms, following are the top chat apps in Malaysia if we refer to the dark orange bars above:

  1. WhatsApp
  2. FB Messenger
  3. WeChat
  4. Skype (really?)
  5. LINE

However, the chart reported by We Are Social above is based on survey-based data, not by the number of app installs or active users.

So, let’s find out which are the top messenger apps in Malaysia measured by the number of users. This is not a straightforward research as most of the popular chat apps don’t release their active users count to the public.

How many WhatsApp users in Malaysia?

Top WhatsApp penetration countries

There is an interesting chart reported by


(see above) on a list of countries ranked by WhatsApp penetration (% of the population).

Guess what? Malaysia ranks #2 in the world just behind Saudi Arabia! On a side note, did you also know that Malaysia is one of the top 5 countries with Waze users?

With 68% penetration, there are around 21M WhatsApp users in Malaysia. You can also read another report here on how popular WhatsApp is in Malaysia as the source of news.

How many FB Messenger users in Malaysia?

There isn’t much statistics available in regards to FB Messenger so let’s first refer to the



Top social media platform & messenger in the world

There is a ratio of 1.2B FB Messenger to 2B Facebook users, which means around 60% of Facebook users do actually use FB Messenger.

With 23M Facebook users in Malaysia, we can estimate 60% or 13.8M of FB Messenger users here.

Let’s try another angle by using Facebook Ads Manager, and limit the placements to Messenger only.

Total FB Messenger users in Malaysia

By looking at the potential reach shown above, there are

12M FB Messenger users in Malaysia


How many WeChat users in Malaysia?

WeChat Pay in Malaysia

Prior to the

WeChat Pay launch in Malaysia

, a senior VP of Tencent has claimed that there are

20M WeChat users in Malaysia


It is not clear though whether the number represents registered users or active users. From chat app’s point of view, active users is a very important metrics and it can be measured by MAU, WAU, DAU (monthly, weekly, daily active users).

The 20M reported is not far behind WhatsApp, but the gap between the two chat apps might be wider if we compare by active users.

How many LINE users in Malaysia?

Total LINE users in Malaysia

According to

this announcement by LINE Malaysia

back in 2014, there were

10M LINE users in Malaysia

back then.

However, there isn’t any official update since then. Similar to WeChat’s announcement, it is not clear whether the total represents registered or active users.

The top 4 chat apps in Malaysia

Without any data source on Skype, or even Telegram and Viber, we can only conclude the top 4 mobile messenger apps here as below:

1. WhatsApp – 21M users

2. WeChat – 20M users

3. FB Messenger – 12M users

4. LINE – 10M users

  • [message]
  • Updates: MCMC has released the Internet Users Survey 2018
  • Refer below for the top 7 communication app in Malaysia. This MCMC report can be a better benchmark as it is reflecting what kind of app Malaysians own and install currently.

    WhatsApp is still the dominant leader followed by FB Messenger instead of WeChat. Telegram is surprisingly popular with 25% of respondents owning an account, while LINE and KakaoTalk are dropping off the pace.

Top communication apps in Malaysia 1. WhatsApp – 98.1%
2. FB Messenger – 55.6%
3. WeChat – 36.8%
4. Telegram – 25.0%
5. Skype – 14.2%
6. LINE – 10.2%
7. KakaoTalk – 2.1%

WeChat functions like a swiss-knife app in China, where you can use it for basically everything from chatting, booking a taxi to making payments.

LINE is trying to emulate this in markets like Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia, to become the app for users to use for almost everything and every time.

From business or marketer’s perspective, both WeChat and LINE also offer business or marketing solutions like Official Accounts, for businesses to reach out to their customers.

By contrast, WhatsApp is still pretty ad-free for now, staying true to its origin by being a simple messaging app for the users.

Perhaps coinciding with its founders leaving Facebook, WhatsApp is rolling out some marketing features to selected brands. Will it replace SMS marketing in the future? Time will tell.


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