The FireChat messaging app is fast becoming
one of the most popular tools for defying communication blocks during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests.
100,000 new users signed up within 24 hours.
As it works via Bluetooth it does not need internet access. It has given its developers a good headache over how to make money from it.
“We want to keep FireChat free for users. We create additional user time. That means that when your phone is not connected to a network or it’s not connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot, now it has the opportunity to be connected to a device or someone nearby. And during that time, any monetization event that happens, so for example an ad that is displayed or a purchase through an app, an app purchase that happens, we take a cut out of that.”
And it could be a sizeable slice as FireChat is this week’s most downloaded app in Hong Kong’s iOS App Store.