The creators of WhatsApp must be grinning like Cheshire cats today, while headlines buzz with talk of what’s possibly the most shockingly large acquisition in tech history. Five years on from the release of the instant messaging smartphone app, Facebook has just bought out WhatsApp for a cool sum of $19 billion – that’s $4 billion in cash with the remainder in shares and stocks. Brian Acton and Jan Kuom – the co-founders of WhatsApp – along with venture capitalist Jim Goetz signed the paperwork today. In signing away their work of the last five years, they’ve each pocketed a nice little retirement fund of a few billion. No biggie. Whatever the future of the little green app, it can certainly be said that these startup geniuses got out at the top of their game.

WhatsApp has thrived, despite global competition from the likes of Viber, WeChat and KaKaoTalk. As of November 2013, the app had 190 million active monthly users worldwide. This means that the price Facebook paid for the app equates to $100 per user! Yes, we are that valuable. The chat app became so popular that last year, Katy Perry released a video of her using WhatsApp to talk to her friends (all while going to the toilet and playing with her cat, mind you).

$19 billion is a lot of money. One can’t help but wonder; what could Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook colleagues have bought for the same amount? Well, a lot to be frankly honest. Gap, TripAdvisor, American Airlines, Coca Cola and even Tiffany’s would all have been a cheaper purchase at their market value… Then again, it’s difficult to imagine Mark Zuckerberg in a diamond tiara – though he could have developed an actual breakfast option at the store, making Breakfast at Tiffany’s a real possibility. Hmm.

Aside from these lovely companies, WhatsApp’s worth is now – stunningly – actually larger than the GDP of 124 countries worldwide. If countries were for sale, Facebook could have used the funds with which they’ve bought Whatsapp to buy a few countries by matching their GDP. Here, we look at just five countries that you might be surprised to learn are, today, worth less than an app.

Five Countries That Are Poorer Than WhatsApp

5. Nepal GDP (nominal): $19 billion
Yes, for approximately the same price paid for WhatsApp, Facebook could have bought Nepal. Not only would they own a culturally delightful country in South Asia, they would also own the world’s tallest peak, Mount Everest.Aside from Everest, Nepal actually contains seven more of the ten highest peaks in the world.
It comes as little surprise; therefore, that tourism is the largest contributor to the Nepalese economy. Ambitious hikers and mountaineers flock to the little country in an effort to add their names to the list of Everest conquerors and look out over the world from that beautiful viewpoint.
Hydroelectricity is also a pretty big deal in Nepal. The landscape of Nepal is treacherous and mountainous, largely untouched by human hands, making it ideal for harvesting hydro power. It is pretty obvious when you think of it – steep mountains mean steep waterfalls and rivers which means faster water which means more hydroelectricity! Oh Facebook, think of all the power you could have had!

4. Jamaica GDP (nominal): $14.8 billion
A relaxing stay on your own island of Jamaica with your leftover money of $4.2 billion might be a nicer way to spend your time than developing WhatsApp, but who are we to judge. Yes, the island that gave us Bob Marley, Usain Bolt and Sean Kingston is another that has a GDP lower than the price of WhatsApp.

Jamaica is a Caribbean island renowned for its beautiful culture of music, beaches and relaxation. The island has a mix of private and state sectors which comprise its economy but tourism is one of its biggest industries, bringing in about 50% of Jamaica’s total foreign exchange earnings.

Followed by
3. Iceland GDP (nominal): $13.7 billion
2. The Bahamas GDP (nominal): $8.2 billion
1. San Marino GDP (nominal): $1.8 billion

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