Kik获腾讯投资 立志做西方的微信 Kik Raises $50 Million From Tencent

SAN FRANCISCOKik has long aspired to becomethe Western worlds equivalent of WeChat, the hugely popular Chinese messaging app thatlets users book taxis, send paymentsand also talk with their friends.


Now Kik has secured an investment from WeChats parent company.


The service announced on Tuesday that it had collected $50 million in new capital fromTencent, the Chinese Internet giant that created WeChat four years ago.


The investment values Kik at $1 billion.


We said we wanted to be the WeChat of the West,” Ted Livingston, Kiks founder and chiefexecutive, said in an interview. “To have WeChat come in and say, ‘Yep, we think you can doit,’ is very satisfying.”

“之前我们说过,我们想成为西方的微信,”Kik创始人兼CEO泰德·利文斯顿(Ted Livingston)在接受采访时说。“现在腾讯给我们投了钱,还说‘没错,我们觉得你们能成,’这还挺让人开心的。”

The move is the latest by a major Western messaging service in the hopes of growing tobecome the next big Internet force. Companies like Kik, Viber and Tango have sought to ridethe wave of popularity that propelled WhatsApp to a $21.8 billion sale to Facebook and buoyedthe valuation of Snapchat to $15 billion.


Among those messaging apps, Kik has been the most vocal about becoming the kind ofInternet hub that WeChat has evolved into in China. Founded in January 2011, WeChat nowlets users send imageladen messages, play games and buy plane tickets.


To Mr. Livingston, that has meant, in part, catching younger users. Kik now claims that 40percent of American teenagers use its app, and that 70 percent of its 240 million registeredusers are between 13 and 24 years old.


Getting users early on means that they will be more comfortable using a service like Kik as away to not only send messages, but also use addon services. Already, the company hasintroduced new offerings like messages built on GIFs, the increasingly prolific animatedimages that now litter the Web.


Its a similar approach, Mr. Livingston said, to how WeChat served as a gateway for many firsttime Chinese Internet usersand then added more and more features to keep those peoplecoming back.


Though Kik and WeChat have known each other for some time, the investment grew out of astrategic review process that the Western app began in the spring with the help of QatalystPartners, the Silicon Valley boutique investment bank. Kik also weighed other options, includinga sale of itself, but it favored an investment. Taking money from a likeminded Chinesecounterpart simply made sense, according to Mr. Livingston.

尽管Kik和微信相互了解已经有一段时间,但是这一融资决定是在Kik进行了战略评估之后做出的。该项评估是在硅谷精品投行Qatalyst Partners帮助下,从今年春天开始进行的。Kik也对其他选择进行了权衡,其中包括出售,但最终它更倾向于融资。利文斯顿表示,从一家思路相近的中国公司获得融资,让人感觉比较合理。

With the new money, Kik will focus on growing and adding new offerings for its app, Mr.Livingston said. It also will help the company build revenue, which it has started collectingthrough initiatives like Kik Points, where users can garner rewards by visiting sites, takingsurveys or joining services from partners.

利文斯顿表示,新资金到位后,将主要用于为app开发新功能,这也将有助于公司增加营收。通过之前推出的Kik Points,该公司已经开始有营收进账。在Kik Points系统里,用户可以通过访问网站、填写调查问卷或下载安装合作app而获得奖励。