JERUSALEM, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Rakuten Inc., Japan's largest e- commerce company, is acquiring the mobile chat application Viber developed by Israelis for 900 million U.S. dollars, Rakuten said in a statement on Friday.
Viber was established by four Israelis with a 30 million U.S. dollar-investment out of their own pocket.
Rakuten said the acquisition of Viber, with its over 100 million active users per month, is part of the company's strategy to strengthen its global platform in the area of e-commerce and digital content services.
Viber lets users connect via mobile calls or messages free of charge. Users can also share photos, videos or locations.
The business has demonstrated significant growth, reaching about 300 million registered users and growing over 120 percent in 2013.
"Viber delivers the most consistently high quality and convenient messaging and VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) experience available," Rakuten Chairman and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani said in a statement.
"Simply put, Viber understands how people actually want to engage and have built the only service that truly delivers on all fronts," Hiroshi added. "This makes Viber the ideal total consumer engagement platform for Rakuten as we seek to bring our deep understanding of the consumer to vast new audiences through our dynamic ecosystem of Internet Services."
Viber CEO and founder Talmon Marco said in a statement: "This combination presents an amazing opportunity for Viber to enhance our rapid user growth in both existing and new markets. Sharing similar aspirations with Rakuten, our vision is to be the world's No.1 communications platform and our combination with Rakuten is an important step in that direction."