Kika Tech is a unique and innovative company with a simple mission: to make mobile communication easier and more dynamic for mobile users.
Worldwide, only about 10% of users currently download new keyboards on their smartphones, but that is about to change.
Bill Hu, CEO of Kika Tech, sat down with us to talk a bit about his vision for the company and his plans for the future of keyboard communication technology. Not only was he keenly observant about the nature of mobile and human communication, but he knew the differences between the Chinese and world mobile markets and had key predictions for the direction of mobile keyboards in the future.
He also gave us a demonstration of their app, which allows users to quickly embed not only rows of wide assortments of emoticons, but to also add in GIF images, video content, voice content, and others.
Compared with a typical keyboard, it has a great deal of functions. You can find it on Google Play here.
What was your dream when you started this company?
With Ric Li I started this company in 2011, so we’ve already been in business for 4 years. We wanted to give smartphones much better service. But our core value is in supplying a service to billions of smartphone users worldwide to be able to better express themselves.
What is the greatest advantage to keyboard technology?
Keyboards have been one of the only ways for people to exchange and have conversations. Older keyboards continue to be difficult for people to convey their moods or emotions. What we are doing and what our core value is is creating a keyboard that allows people to find an easier method of expressing themselves. We are supplying a much richer content system for keyboards, for example multimedia content, GIF images, stickers, voice “emojis”, and soon videos. This helps people during conversation to express themselves at ease and without constraints.
And you have many different users from many different countries?
Yes, we are currently in more than 140 countries. Our major users are in the Americas and Europe, which take up around 80% of users. In more than 40 countries we are number one on the list.
Why is it that there are so many American and European users?
This is probably because in China social networks are more closed and generally for the Chinese market. Also, marketing is much more viral, in the sense that if you send a hello-kitty sticker to someone, it is much more likely to be shared with other people. Many people use Facebook, Whatsapp, Snapchat, and others that are much faster in terms of spreading and promoting.
So you think your customers are not in China?
Yes, all of our customers are from outside of China. This is because the marketing channels are different. In China most things are sent by WeChat. Also for Android there are many different app stores that aren’t Google Play, including Wandoujia, Xiaomi’s App Store, Baidu, and many others. The entire environment isn’t the same. So in China the marketing and promotional setup has a different appearance.
Why was it that you used the domain Kika.tech when you chose it for your company?
Because keyboards as a product necessitate a very high degree of technology. Also, around 70% of our employees are tech-related positions. So we think that this keyboard should represent technology. We also think that the name Kika sounds a lot like the sound of someone typing on a keyboard. So in working towards a company image that is global, we decided to use one of the new domains to describe that Kika in pursuit of the global in an instant and striking way to represent the next era.
So how do you plan now to promote and what plans are in your future?
I hope that keyboards become a product that is standard for all sorts of equipment. Every type of phone should have one. In recent years, those on iOS and Android who have downloaded a new keyboard might be around 10% of users. In other words, 90% of users are utilizing keyboards that come with the product. So we think that this is a very big market, and we will continue to development this market on iOS and Google Play. We plan to have an iOS version soon.
Why do you think people do not yet download new keyboards?
I think it is because users are still moving from feature phones to smartphones and from smartphones to the next phase of practicability. So when users begin to accept new types of media, a process is necessary. Also, because our users are mostly 10-24 years in age (60%), there is plenty of potential for new users in the future. I believe in the next 5 years, 70% of users will begin to download new keyboards and typing products.
We represent the new age of typing. We want to give people a much more favorable way of communicating, and we are not simply about emoticons, videos, and GIFS. In the future, we will have a watch version of our app, a car version of our app, and other smart devices.
Translations and interview by Matt Johnson.
Matt Johnson is Senior Account Manager at Allegravita LLC, a public relations and strategic communications agency with a focus on the China region.
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