Can mass-marketing tactics topple WhatsApp?

US firm WhatsApp may hold a steady lead in the messaging app space, but rivals across Asia are looking at turning the tide both at home and abroad by spending big on a marketing assault.

In the battle to become the global messaging app of choice, China's WeChat and Japan-based Line have brought out some large marketing guns - TV ads featuring soccer star Lionel Messi, for instance - that have powered promising bursts of overseas growth.

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