Hike unbundles its messaging app to reach India’s next wave of smartphone users

How do you compete with the world’s largest chat app in its strongest market?

Hike, the Indian messaging app valued at more than $1 billion, is taking a unique approach to battling WhatsApp which involves dismantling its service, layering it on budget Android phones and offering free connectivity.

The company, which is backed by the likes of Tencent and Foxconn, today unveiled ‘Total, built by Hike’ — a new service aimed at reaching novice smartphone owners and first-time internet users in India.

Hike is in the unenviable position of competing squarely with WhatsApp, the world’s most popular chat app, which counts India as its largest single market with over 200 million active users. For perspective: that’s two-thirds of India’s internet using public. By contrast, Hike…

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