The world is going to data, bits and bytes, zeros and ones. Not just us, all these apps are using data
not just for communications, to watch a movie or tweet news. We are a small part of it
- Jan Koum
Mr Koum does not regard the popular chat apps from Asiasuch as Kakao as credible global rivals,
however, saying that these groups have “not been able to succeed” outside their markets.
“We are a global company. We don’t pick a market. We work in every country. We don’t see the
competition. There is a lot of press, and talk of total registered numbers which I see as misleading.
Globally we don’t see competition – just in a couple of local markets in Asia.”
He insisted that there were “no plans to change” WhatsApp’s handling of personal information after
the Facebook deal closes in the coming months.
He played down fears that Facebook would use data held by WhatsApp on its customers.
“We don’t know your name, your address, your email, a photo, what you spend on . . . we know
nothing about you. When people say that you are going to share your data with Facebook my first
reaction is: what data are you talking about? People should just be rational and realise that there is no
data to share.”
Mr Koum said there was no intention to open the app to third parties, or to branch into supporting the
hardware of mobile phones using its voice service. “Our product road map doesn’t change because of
the Facebook deal – we continue to be independent on the development of our product.”
Mr Koum has personally experienced the benefits of a much discussed boom in tech valuations
through the $6.8bn he is said to have received from the sale of WhatsApp. Even so, he insisted that
the rise in tech valuations was justified, in particular in the mobile sector, where he saw the
opportunity for continued growth.
“People talk about bubble but I want to talk about potential – 5bn people with an always-on device
with all the world’s information at their fingertips. You can talk about bubbles and economics, but
that’s not interesting. It’s interesting to talk about how the world is changing because of the