Viber, one of the leading messaging and calling apps with more than 664 million unique users worldwide, announced today that it has opened its latest social channel ‘Public Chats’ to partners in Africa and the Middle East. Brands, organizations, celebrities, public figures and social influencers from these countries can now join Viber’s global platform to reach a local and regional audience.
Public Chats are live discussions that Viber users can follow, like and share with their community. Released in beta version in November 2014 with select global partners, this feature offers a new kind of social experience – tapping into live conversations from celebrities, personalities, brands and organizations. Mobile users can discover new communities, follow interactive chats in real-time and share original pieces of content with friends and contacts.
“The Middle East and Africa are important markets for Viber, and we are pleased to welcome local influencers and brands to our Public Chats platform,” said Mark Hardy, CMO, Viber. “We are sure they will enjoy chatting, commenting and debating live on this active social channel whilst sharing tips, news, and local content to our constantly connected mobile audience across the region.”
Selected partners in Africa and the Middle East, at regional and continental level, and also in key markets such as Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal, have joined Public Chats for this regional launch in a bid to be the first players to offer local conversations on Viber. Users in MENA can now start to follow them from the Viber Public Chats explore page.
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Jumia, the leading ecommerce platform in Africa, recently opened Public Chats in Egypt and Nigeria and were one of the first partners to join this new social channel in the Middle East and Africa. Viber users can expect more Jumia Public Chats to open in the African continent in the coming months.
“We are really excited with this partnership,” stated Jeremy Doutte, CEO of Jumia. “As new African customers discover the Internet first through their mobile, we want to address them wherever they are. Viber is a mobile first company with an outstanding reach in Africa. Jumia is also a mobile first company and the first online shopping destination in Africa. Joining forces will enable both Viber and Jumia to deliver quality content and good vibes to our users.”
In the Middle East region, Pan-Arab media such as Filfan.com and Elcinema.com have joined as partners and are now live on Public Chats.
“We are thrilled to join Viber’s Public Chats as the first Arabic platform that provides entertainment content. This partnership will give us the opportunity to expand our audience reach and tackle new markets especially in the GCC countries,” said Mohamed Omar, FilFan.com Managing Editor. “We take mobile first very seriously; more than 50 per cent of FilFan.com traffic came from mobile in 2015. We look forward to harnessing the increase of mobile users and being more accessible to our readers through Viber Public Chats. We are promising our users a great experience and new ways to discover and engage with the latest FilFan entertainment content.”
Other Pan-Arab partners include the digital agency Kijamii, online Fashion magazine Fustany.com, and Egypt’s social food network Engezni. More influencers and brands from the Arab world will be joining Public Chats and will be announced in the coming months.
Public Chats are easy to follow from within the Viber app. Anyone on Viber can follow as many Public Chats as they like. Conversations are multi-media and include text, photos, audio, video, stickers, web links and geo-localization. Users can invite friends to follow their favorite Public Chats and share parts of these conversations. The most popular chats are featured on the home screen of Viber’s Public Chats section. Users can easily find new Public Chats through the search tab or access a chat directly via a customized URL.
Global brands, celebrities and public figures on Public Chats include online media platforms such as Huffington Post, Mashable, BuzzFeed and the BBC; the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modri; Pop star Pixie Lott and Model and Actress Karolina Kurkova.
Viber freely connects users around the world with the people that matter to them most, sending good vibes every day and making great things happen. With more than 664 million unique users on the platform, Viber gives people the ability to connect in the way that works best for them, whether it is through individual messaging, video calls or group chats or following brands and celebrities on Public Chats. Viber can be used on iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phones and tablets, Windows Phone, Windows®, Windows 8®, Mac, Linux and Symbian devices over 3G/4G or WiFi connections. Viber is a Rakuten Group company.