Viber, a messaging app with nearly 800 million active users in 193 countries around the world, has entered the Ukrainian business market, touting its latest and “most important (feature) for the last two years” – public accounts.

Viber Media Inc., a subsidiary of Japanese company Rakuten Inc., announced the roll out of its new business service on Nov. 22 during its first ever press conference in Ukraine, where it claims to have about 16 million active users.

Public accounts are designed to connect business with the community inside the smartphone application, bringing more social network characteristics into the messenger service.

“We are carefully tracking the importance of different app features in the country,” Evgeny Roshchupkin, the Country Manager Russia and the CIS at Viber Media, Inc. told the Kyiv Post on Nov 23. “This impacts our decisions. The Ukrainian market is one of the most important for Viber – our leadership on it speaks volumes.”

Developed mainly for business goals, the new service allows the process of communicating with customers to be automated, by introducing computer program designed to simulate a conversation – chat-bots – and a customer relationship management (CRM) system, which records the details of customer interactions.

“Public accounts give people the possibility to communicate with brands, services, and media in the same way they do in the app with their friends and relatives,” Roshchupkin said.

The country’s leading companies, such as mail delivery service Nova Poshta, football club Shakhtar Donetsk, mobile operator Kyivstar, and Ukraine’s biggest bank, PrivatBank, have already set up Viber public accounts.

“We think that the local business community can take great advantage of the public account platform, reaching and increasing their audience, expanding their business,” Ido Lungelson, the head of revenue at Viber Media told the Kyiv Post. “They can innovate and create anything they want on Viber – it’s their playground.”

This story first appeared in Kyiv Post, a syndication partner of Ukraine Digital News.