With 8-million users in PH, Viber opens local office

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With the view of expanding its presence in the country, messaging app Viber announced that it has opened a Philippine office whose stated objective is to ?strengthen the marketing and local operations adapted to the Filipino community.?

In this file photo, Viber CEO Talmon Marco (right) is shown with Globe senior advisor for consumer business Peter Bithos during the launch of their partnership in July 2013
In this file photo, Viber CEO Talmon Marco (right) is shown with Globe senior advisor for consumer business Peter Bithos during the launch of their partnership in July 2013

With about eight million local users, Israel-based Viber is one of the top — if not the biggest — messaging apps in the country. It competes with the likes of China?s WeChat, Korea?s KakaoTalk, US’s WhatsApp, and Japan?s Line.

Viber?s huge user base in the Philippines has, in fact, prompted its CEO, Talmon Marco, to travel to the country in July last year to forge a partnership with Globe Telecom.

The inauguration of the new local office is expected to further lift the profile of Viber in the country with a team led by Crystal Lee, who will serve as its first country manager. The tech firm was supposed to hold its formal launch last week in Quezon City but rescheduled the event for another date.

Viber is used by smartphone users to make free communication services such as text, photo, and video messages. It is available for the iPhone, Android phones and tablets, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Windows, Windows 8, Mac, Linux, Symbian, Nokia S40 and Bada devices over 3G/4G or WiFi connections.

It was developed by Viber Media, which was founded in February 2010 by Israeli nationals Talmon Marco, Igor Megzinik, Sani Maroli and Ofer Smocha. In February this year, the company was bought by Japanese Internet firm Rakuten Group for $900 million. — Ylexis Kyle-Michael Rualo

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