The service has attracted more monthly users than the 200 million claimed by Twitter, Jan Koum told a technology conference on Tuesday. He did not release an exact figure, however.
He also said WhatsApp carries as many as 20 billion messages per day, double Facebook’s daily message traffic.
Although WhatsApp is seen as more of an internet-based threat to text messaging than as a competitior to social networks, the figures represent major milestones for a service that was only introduced in 2009.
Koum said WhatsApp, based in Silicon Valley, will not follow Facebook and Twitter in carrying advertising, however. The app charges a 99-cent annual subscription on Android and other smartphone operating systems.
“We do have a manifesto opposing advertising,” said Koum.
“We’re so bombarded with ads so much in our daily lives and we felt that smartphones aren’t the place for that. Our phones are so intimately connected to us, to our lives.
“Putting advertising on a device like that is a bad idea. You don’t want to be interrupted by ads when you’re chatting with your loved ones.
“Our monetisation strategy is simple. One dollar a year. If we did something besides that, it would just get in the way.”
WhatsApp currently charges only a one-off download fee of 69 pence for its iOS app. In previous interviews Koum has indicated iPhone users will be migrated this year to the same annual subscription scheme as Android users, however. He said the subscription charges had not affected the popularity of WhatsApp.
The firm recently denied it was in active discussions to sell up to Google, although did not deny talks had taken place.