With the advent of web 3.0, the expectations from social media platforms have seemingly skyrocketed. Users seem to want a more immersive experience than the mere exchange of texts and videos which are on offer on social platforms currently.
“Metaverse social networking” – a futuristic version of social networking where digital and physical realities are combined – looks to be a step in that direction. This could be a logical next step for companies who have already made a mark in the arena of audio and video social apps and video games.
Mobile app company Newborn Town Inc. (HKG: 9911) is one such company that has made strides in bringing new social experiences to mobile users with its video and audio social networking platforms MICO, YoHo and Yumy, as well as video games.
Since its inception in 2009, the company has garnered more than 1.3 billion users – and counting –- in over 200 countries and regions.
Not one to rest on its laurels, Newborn Town reports that it has set itself ambitious goals for 2023, essentially shaped by the rising needs and wants of a generation of millennials and Gen Zs who have made social networking the behemoth it is today.
Mobile Apps - A Market Ever On The Rise?
The global mobile application market size amounted to $187.58 billion in 2021. It is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.4% from 2022 to 2030. This includes apps for gaming, social networking, mobile health and fitness, music and entertainment, retail and e-commerce, and other purposes.
Social audio-video networking apps have, over the past years, come to be associated with community building all over the world. Akin to real-time meetups, these virtual platforms’ popularity seems to stem from their ability to enable people rooting for similar causes to join hands and enrich their common passions.
Audio-video social networking apps are also increasingly being tapped for their expanding reach, as they offer businesses and marketers opportunities to connect with their target at a more personal level than ever before.
Driving Growth Through Diverse Verticals And An Inclusive Reach
Hong Kong-listed Newborn Town launched its social networking app, MICO in 2014. MICO, envisioned as a global social platform, quickly rose to popularity in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, South Asia and other regions, topping the list of most-downloaded social Apps in over 70 countries and regions worldwide according to data from data.ai. And there’s been no looking back since, for the company.
In 2018 Newborn Town launched yet another social app YoHo which also gained popularity, bringing the total number of global users on Newborn Town platforms to over 1 billion by 2019.
YoHo soon became one of the top two audio social networking platforms in the Middle East, connecting millions of users through its voice chat rooms. The company says that YoHo owes its popularity to its muti-themed chat rooms focusing on varied interests and skill sets, including singing, dancing and more serious topics around social causes.
In the same year, the company was also listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE).
2020 saw the launch of its video social app - Yumy which was aimed at developed markets, with unique features such as the "Impress in Ten" and "video matching" which according to Newborn Town, provide a tangible, efficient and immersive social experience.
Yumy registered considerable preliminary success, taking overall global users on the company’s platforms to 1.3 billion by 2021.
In 2022, the company forayed into mobile video games to keep pace with the diverse needs of the market and launched its mobile video games Mergeland - Animal Adventure and Mergeland - Alice’s Adventure in April and June respectively on the Google Play Store. The company says that both games –- in the popular merge genre – have seen increasing popularity in multiple markets including North America, Europe and South Korean Markets.
Also in 2022, in keeping with the times, and with a view to promoting inclusivity, Newborn Town injected a fund to invest in BlueCity Holdings Ltd. (BLCT) – a provider of health and social platforms for the LGBTQ community – the fund becoming a prominent shareholder in the company.
BlueCity’s social platforms have registered an upward trajectory in its number of users since then, with one app – Blued – garnering 49 million registered users in over 200 countries according to Newborn Town.
In the second quarter of 2022, the average monthly active users (MAUs) of the company’s social apps reached about 23.09 million, registering an increase of approximately 27% year-on-year, reports the company.
Plans For 2023 And Beyond
With its diverse portfolio of audio and video apps and games, and its inclusive target demographic, Newborn Town says it is looking ahead with optimism into 2023 and beyond. More specifically, the company’s strategy and focus for the next year include:
- Continued focus on its video and audio social interactions with a wide coverage of verticals to satisfy a diverse palette of social needs, including gaming social networking and metaverse social networking. For example, its metaverse feature on the Yumy mobile app – Meta Town – is being tested, according to the company.
- Increasing user base for its MICO, YoHo and Yumy social apps including paid users in current markets through localized operations and events, and extending the apps to high-value markets such as GCC countries, western countries, Japan and South Korea.
- Boosting the performance of Blued, the LGBTQ social platform in global markets, especially in Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea and improving its profitability in countries beyond China where it is currently profitable.
- Infusing innovation into its business through the development and launch of new mobile games that accord a high-quality gaming experience, and also covering a variety of genres in games. This would help retain the stickiness of users and keep their return rate high, according to the company. Since games in the merge subgenre have a long profitable period, the company says it plans to keep them a high-return and high-quality gaming experience.
The company also plans to explore cutting-edge and emerging technologies such as Web3 through 2023 – and beyond.
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