Kik Messenger, which has a large teen user base in the United States, has raised $50 million in new venture funding from WeChat parent company Tencent. The round values the company just north of $1 billion, according to the company.
Kik CEO Ted Livingston has a lot of admiration for WeChat and what it has been able to do in China around mobile messaging. (He has talked to Re/code about it multiple times and also penned his own blog post on the subject.) Kik is using a similar business model here in the U.S., building other services like gaming and music into the app in order to give people something else to do besides simple messaging.
The app has 240 million registered users and claims that 40 percent of American teenagers are actively on Kik. The deal doesn’t mean the two apps are planning to integrate, but they will have a strategic partnership moving forward, according to Kik co-founder Chris Best. That means sharing things like data and app information, he added.
He also said that Kik won’t be targeting China anytime soon (seems obvious now given WeChat’s foothold there) but plans to use the money to grow the company’s employee base.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.