It is now possible for anybody to invest in WhatsApp because the world’s most popular messaging solution is now owned by Facebook. Last year Facebook made headlines by spending an estimated $19 to $22 billion to buy WhatsApp.
This can enable almost anybody to invest in WhatsApp because Facebook is a publicly traded company. Its shares trade under the ticker symbol FB on the NASDAQ stock exchange in the United States, and they can be purchased through most stock websites.
This means that most people can buy shares of the company that owns WhatsApp directly or through mutual or exchange traded funds (ETFs). Some Americans can also buy shares in Facebook through their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) or 401ks as well.
WhatsApp Is Not the Only Reason to Invest in Facebook
Interestingly enough, Facebook could be a really good investment with or without WhatsApp. In addition to having the world’s most popular messaging solution—WhatsApp, with 900 million active users—Facebook offers these attributes to investors:
- $15.94 in revenue
- A net income of $2.82 billion
- $14.12 billion in cash in the bank on June 30, 2015
- Making $6.411 billion in cash from operations during the second quarter of 2015
- Some very impressive new technologies. The website Stuff reported that Facebook’s latest artificial intelligence solution can actually tell what is in pictures and describe them to users. That means Facebook has some of the most advanced artificial intelligence solutions in the world.
- Messaging solutions that could have 1.6 billion active users. According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, WhatsApp had 900 million active users and Facebook had 700 million active users in September. That means nearly one in seven people in the world could be using a Facebook messaging solution because the world has a population of around seven billion people.
- Around 1.49 billion active Facebook users in the second quarter of 2015, according to Statista. Note: CNBC reported that Facebook’s user numbers had grown to 1.55 billion in September 2015.
- Advertising revenues of $4.3 billion
- Advertising revenues that increased by 66% between 2014 and 2015, according to CNBC
- A profit margin 19.91%
This means that Facebook is making a lot of money without WhatsApp’s help. If Zuckerberg and his team can figure out how to make money from WhatsApp, they could generate even more revenue.
Why Facebook Could Be Poised to Grow
Some experts think that Facebook could be poised for a tremendous spurt of growth in the years ahead because of the future projects it is developing. Some intriguing and potentially profitable projects that Facebook could be developing include:
- Revenue from videos. On November 6, 2015, Mark Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook is developing a new system of video delivery to compete with Google’s YouTube. The company will charge people that view videos and provide a cut of revenue to video makers such as movie studios. This means that you might one day be able to watch your favorite TV shows on Facebook or WhatsApp.
- News. Facebook has developed an app called Notify that lets users view a wide variety of news content. Notify offers users interactive content from a wide variety of sources, including The Guardian, The New York Times, NBC, The Atlantic, and the BBC. Notify works by telling users when news about a subject appears; for example, the latest story about your favorite movie star or the stock you’ve been following. One advantage to Notify is that it loads 10 times as fast as similar apps.
- Search. Facebook is now developing a search function to challenge Google. CNBC reported that Facebook can now search two trillion posts a month. This means you could search the web directly from your Facebook page or even WhatsApp without going to Google. That will make it easier for Facebook to sell advertising and make even more money. One way this will work is by allowing Facebook users to search content posted by other Facebook users.
- Virtual reality. Last year Facebook paid $2 billion for a company called Oculus VR. Oculus wants to build a virtual reality device that is supposed to be able to trick people’s senses. Oculus’s founder, Palmer Luckey, claims that within 15 years virtual reality will be more popular than smartphones. Luckey also thinks that wearable tech integrated with virtual reality, or VR, could one day replace smartphones.
- Problem-solving artificial intelligence. Wired reported that Facebook wants to develop an artificial intelligence capable of playing a game no machine has been able to play so far: the Chinese strategy game Go. Current artificial intelligence cannot win at Go because they are not capable of analyzing future outcomes the way the human mind is. This technology is known as Deep Learning, and it is considered the future of artificial intelligence. This could help Facebook’s AI identify images and solve problems.
Why WhatsApp Is a Great Investment
So it is not possible to invest in WhatsApp directly, but it is possible to own a piece of the company that owns WhatsApp. Since that company is a really great investment itself, WhatsApp could be considered a good investment.
Obviously, to invest in WhatsApp, you will have to buy Facebook stock. If you are not comfortable putting your money into the stock market, you should not buy Facebook. Like any stock, it can go up and down with the market, and its value may not be connected directly to the company.
This being said, there is another great reason to buy Facebook stock. Mark Zuckerberg, like Warren Buffett and Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page, has demonstrated a knack for buying other really great companies. Only a very shrewd and farsighted investor would have been able to recognize WhatsApp and buy it.
Like Warren Buffett, Zuckerberg is willing to pay a lot for really good companies. That makes Zuckerberg a great investor as well as a visionary CEO. Zuckerberg himself might be the best reason to buy Facebook; he has created a tremendous company and demonstrated that corporation can grow and make money.
Those that are looking for a technology investment should definitely take a look at WhatsApp and Facebook. WhatsApp is a tremendous product, and Facebook is a great company. Both could have really bright and profitable futures.