Create A Chat App Like Whatsapp or Telegram in 2021 (Cost, Business Model, Features, etc.)

Sophia Martin
Jul 12, 2020 · 11 min read
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When you decide to develop an instant messaging app like Whatsapp or Telegram, the app development cost can go beyond $50,000 especially when you are building it for both leading platforms (Android and iOS).

You must be wondering why the app development cost of messaging apps like Whatsapp has increased by three times since 2013. Are there some advanced features integrated into the app? Or is this just because it has hit the market so hard over the years?

Well, the fact of the matter is that messaging apps like Whatsapp, Telegram, WeChat, and Viber have made the entire communication process far simpler by integrating various modern features into apps and allowing people to stay connected while on the move.

If you are still in doubt about why and how instant messaging apps are gaining popularity all across the world, then you need to know some stats and facts about messaging apps including WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber, WeChat, and others.

Key Statistics of Messaging Apps

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  • In March 2019, it was reported that Telegram had added 3 million new users over 24 hours during a spate of Facebook outages.
  • As of March 2019, Telegram has 200 million monthly users and it is targeting to reach 1 billion users in 2022.
  • 15 billion Telegram messages are sent per day whereas WhatsApps is being used to send 65 billion messages and 2 billion minutes spent making WhatsApp Voice and Video Calls per day.
  • By 2020, it is predicted that the average revenue generated from the messaging apps are expected to surpass $15 per user. WeChat is expected to generate $15.64 while WhatsApp is expected to generate $15 per user and Facebook is estimated to earn around $5 per user.
  • The forecast from Statista reveals that Whatsapp is the top messaging app with 2000 million users, leaving behind Facebook Messenger, WeChat, QQ Mobile, Telegram, and Snapchat in the top 6 messaging apps.
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In the Nutshell: Undoubtedly, messaging apps are growing fast and will reach another level in the coming years. So planning to invest in messaging app development is a real worth.

Now you must be wondering where to start this, what type of features you need to integrate, what exactly it will cost you, and how to monetize it, then you are at the right platform. We are covering answers to all your questions in this post.

Let’s get started with an introduction and understand other parameters for developing a successful messaging app in 2021…

  • Messaging App Like WhatsApp: What’s Its Role and Why It Has Become So Popular?
  • What Key Points do You Need To Keep In Mind While Developing a Chat App?
  • Key Steps To Develop A Messaging App in 2021

-Plan the App Structure
-Choose Right App Monetization Model
-Integrating the Features and Functionalities
-Hire Experienced App Development Team
-Turn your App Idea Into a Great Design

  • How Much It Will Cost You To Develop?

Let’s understand each point in detail…

1. Messaging App Like WhatsApp: What’s Its Role and Why It Has Become So Popular?

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The instant messaging app like WhatsApp, Telegram, Snapchat, WeChat is long back launched in the market with the simple aim to make the entire communication process simpler, faster, and cheaper. The prime role of these instant messaging apps is to provide an opportunity to the users to exchange the messages in real-time by simply using an internet connection.

Initially, it was introduced as a basic messaging app like Facebook Messenger but now it is more than a messenger. So what unique proposition do they offer you? Take a look at Snapchat, it not only offers you the instant messaging option but also creates a user profile, making instant video/audio calls, ability to capture and upload pictures, status, stories, and multiple filters and stickers to make the entire app more entertaining.

Major Role and Functionalities of Messaging app Like WhatsApp are:

  • Sending Photos
  • Sending Audio and Video Messages
  • Seamless Exchange of Live locations
  • Send Contact Cards

All these features in the messaging apps make them really popular as they add a great convenience of chatting and allowing people to stay connected with their loved ones. The availability of messaging apps on multiple operating systems makes it a popular choice and keeps it spreading.

Moreover, it won’t be wrong to say messaging apps are available everywhere right from smartphones to cutting-edge devices. This is why your intention to make an investment in the messaging app in 2021 is a worthwhile decision.

So how to build a chat application like WhatsApps? Is developing an app is as easy as hiring the best mobile app development company…..? I guess, there are multiple things that app owners should know while planning to invest in chatting applications.

2. What Important Things do You Need to Know While Developing a Chat Application?

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Developing a mobile app and your excitement to launch it soon is natural, but soon that curiosity can turn into a blunder if you haven’t planned the things rightly.

So before starting the app development project, it is important to consider a few vital aspects as mentioned below:

  • Take enough time to decide who will be working on your app idea: in house app development team or offshore software development company.
  • You should have experienced app developers, designers, quality assurance engineers, project managers, and UX/UI designers to complete the app development process.
  • Chat app development cost can be starting from $10,000 with the basic features and can go to any expensive price, therefore it is important to plan your budget in advance and hire app development company to meet your app development needs.

3. Key Steps To Develop A Messaging App

When it comes to app development, there are a plethora of things to consider. But since, here you are trying to find out how much it costs to develop a chat app like WhatsApp. Therefore, we are directly getting into the main steps that can majorly affect the development cost.

Here is the step by step guide that helps you create a business growing chatting app like WhatsApp and Telegram.

  • Plan the App Structure
  • Choose Right App Monetization Model
  • Integrating the Features and Functionalities
  • Hire Experienced App Development Team
  • Turn your App Idea Into a Great Design

Let’s get into the detail of each point…

A. Plan the App Structure

So at this stage of app development, you need to acquire all the important information regarding what technology stacks they use or how they handle message traffic, how to upgrade it with new features, and more.

Let’s understand what exactly WhatsApp uses:

  • With over 1.5 billion monthly active users of WhatsApp, this app used to handle heavy message traffic, therefore it uses the Ejabberd XMPP Application server to seamlessly handle the communication system. In addition, it uses a high-performance web server with the name of YAWS (Yet Another Web Server) for storing multimedia files.
  • WhatsApp developers have chosen FreeBSD operating systems for power servers and for databases they rely on Mnesia.
  • Most importantly, they use Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) technology to transfer messages, whether it is one to one or multi-user chat communications.

There are many more technologies that they used for the backend. Rest you can hire a mobile app development company to know the best programming languages and technologies that you can use for application depending on the operating systems.

B. Choosing The Right Monetizing Model

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There is no use of developing an app if it is not earning any money for you. So before choosing the monetizing model for your mobile app, you should know the basic principles to succeed.

Target Audience: Determine who will be more interested in creating messaging groups or who will use messengers more. As a rule, young people are more interested in using chatting apps than older people. Since WhatsApp is far easier and quicker to access therefore it is popular among business people as well.

Know Your Competitors: Before choosing the monetizing model for your app, it is important to analyze the market and do some research about the competitors to make your app better.

App Idea: Only having the same app idea like WhatsApp and knowing its features will not make you successful. To add value to your app idea, it is important to add something new yet unique that helps you attract more customers towards your app.

Choosing the Best Monetizing Model:

  • In-App Purchase: You can allow your users to buy unique and new stickers or some additional features to boost their messaging experience.
  • In-App Advertising: This is the most common way to monetize your app, but don’t overload the app with advertisements that make the users annoyed.
  • P2P Payments: This is what WhatsApp uses for monetization. Users can send payment to each other but they have to pay a fixed amount of fee for each transaction.

If you find all this complicated, then it is worth looking for pro mobile app development solutions to get the best app monetization solution.

C. Must-Have Features and Functionalities Required To Build WhatsApp Application

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Apart from these features, do not forget that back-end development is important which takes approx 350 hrs to build. If you are strongly following the WhatsApp Clone, then keep in mind that they use a powerful server to manage everything flawlessly.

The cost to develop these features is depending on the per hour cost of the development team and time they will take to create the features. To estimate the total cost of feature development, you can calculate the total number of development hours with the per hour cost of the app development.

Pro Advice: Customizing the features of the app is a complicated task so it is better to leave with the pro app development teams of the industry.

D. Hiring a Mobile App Development Team

On an average, the per-hour pricing of the app developer is starting from $18 to $30 depending on the skills, knowledge, experience and location of the developer. Apart, the cost of the app developer is also depending on the choice of OS for the app launch.

Here are the team members you will hire when collaborating with the DDT (Dedicated Development Team):

  • Project Manager: Who will take the entire responsibility of your project development and be a one point of contact person.
  • Business Analyst: Who will analyze the feasibility of your project and suggest you the best options.
  • Software developers: 2–3 Frontend developers and 2–3 for backend development, depending upon the complexity of the app development project.
  • App Tester: 1 tester who will deeply analyze your app and test it on multiple devices to fix all the bugs before its launch.
  • UX/UI Designer: Who will make the interface of your app appealing and easy to access to lead an excellent user experience.
  • Marketing Manager: Who will promote your app on different platforms.

E. Turn Your App Idea Into a Perfect Design

To create a balanced appeal of your app, it is important to hire a UX/UI designer with the per hour cost from $12 to $18 and take approx 60–70 hours to design an interface of the app.

How Much It Cost To Develop a Chat App Like WhatsApp?

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Calculating the overall cost of developing a chat-based app is one of the most daunting questions to answer even for the developers. Still, the rough estimate would be somewhere around $20,000 to $30,000 and can go to any expensive price depending upon the features and functionalities you choose to integrate.

If you still want to know how to calculate the pricing of the app development, then just apply this simple formula:

Total Number of Hours of Development X Per Hour Cost of the Developer = Final Development Cost.

Note: The prices and development hours are the rough estimations, it can be vary depending upon the project needs and complexity.


So developing a chat-based app like WhatsApp, Telegram, WeChat or Snapchat will not just offer a huge boost to your business but also you can reach out to the global audiences.

In this post, we have covered all the major factors which are essential for development and majorly contributing to the development cost. But remember, only following the WhatsApp clone will not make you successful, you need to come up with the exclusive idea and a unique business strategy to stand apart in the cutthroat market.

If you find yourself stuck anywhere in between then it is worth joining hands with the app development company who could help you out throughout the development process and suggest you the best development options under your budget.

Flutter Community

Articles and Stories from the Flutter Community

Sophia Martin

Written by

Tech Lead and Technical Content Writer — | Write on Trending Technology | Tech Geek, Passionate Writer, Business Consultant. 13+ Years of Experience.

Flutter Community

Articles and Stories from the Flutter Community

Sophia Martin

Written by

Tech Lead and Technical Content Writer — | Write on Trending Technology | Tech Geek, Passionate Writer, Business Consultant. 13+ Years of Experience.

Flutter Community

Articles and Stories from the Flutter Community

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