BARCELONA: FACEBOOK CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that Whatsapp is worth even more than the remarkable $19bn that the company paid for it.
Speaking at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on Monday, Zuckerberg defended Facebook's acquisition of mobile messaging app Whatsapp, which the company bought for an astronomical sum last week.
"I just think that by itself it's worth more than $19bn," Zuckerberg said. "It's hard to make that case today because they still have little revenue compared to that number. Whatsapp is on a path to having more than a billion people, and there is very few services in the world that can reach that level.
"The reality is there are very few services that reach a billion people in the world."
Zuckerberg admitted there is a chance that the acquisition could prove to be a risk not worth taking.
"I could be wrong, there is a chance this is the one service that gets to one billion people and ends up not being that valuable - [but] I don't think I am," he said. "Whatsapp is a great company and it's a great fit for us, the most engaging mobile app I've ever seen."
For Facebook, Zuckerberg is hoping that Whatsapp will help it broaden its reach to even more people, thus helping it acquire more loyal users.
Zuckerberg also implied that the Whatsapp buyout wasn't purely a selfish act, saying that the acquisition was also to help the Whatsapp CEO Jan Koum achieve "his dream of reaching a lot more people".
When Zuckerberg and Koum were talking before the acquisition, the Facebook CEO said it was more about how "they are going to connect everyone in the world" and it wasn't until "we got aligned on that vision of Whatsapp that we actually started talking about numbers and made a deal".
Though Zuckerberg explained his reasons behind the Whatsapp buyout in front of hundreds of atendees on Monday, he generally failed to win over the crowd at MWC, with many attendees leaving just 20 minutes into his keynote presentation. µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ