What is Wechat?
WeChat has risen to become the most popular social and mobile app in China where it has over 1.1 billion active users. The platform was developed by Chinese technology conglomerate Tencent (China’s first globally known internet brand) in January 2011 and has seen massive annual growth in users and popularity since. WeChat was the first application within China that offered users the ability to send voice messages. In addition, it was also the first application to anticipate the switch to mobile based platforms. This allowed it to beat local competition, such as RenRen, (The Chinese Facebook) in active users and downloads.
The app is available on Android, iPhone, Blackberry and Windows Phone platforms. Due to its mass number of users and high download rate it has grown to become one of the most popular social apps in the world, and a valid competitor to other global comparable mobile apps such as WhatsApp and Viber.
WeChat Facts & Stats
In August 2015, WeChat had over 600 million active users and only 70 million of those were from outside of China. Often considered the ‘WhatsApp’ of China, WeChat is actually a far more advanced and powerful app. The app can do much more than send messages. Millions of people use it every day for a number of its advanced features, such as;
- Making video calls
- Scheduling appointments
- Paying bills
- Sending mobile payments
- Playing games
- Hailing taxis
- Sharing their locations
- Posting status updates
- Uploading photos
- Group chats
- Social connect
These are just a handful of the amazing features the app currently offers and it is continuously adding new and exciting attributes. WeChat is said to offer the best of Facebook and WhatsApp rolled into one app. Tencent has added features upon features that have made WeChat a central component of a user’s everyday life. In China, where the app is most popular, users are estimated to spend 30 hours a week on the internet on average. This is reliance and need for technology is what continues to see the apps popularity soar.
WeChat Marketing & eCommerce
One of the most striking features of WeChat is how personal and engaging it can be. The rich features of WeChat allow celebrities and brands to communicate with fans and more importantly, engage with them through messages, videos, photos and much more. ‘Subscription’ pages are special channels where brands and companies can promote themselves to customers.
WeChat has changed the game on mobile commerce. It stands heads above other apps in terms of offerings, possibilities and growth. WeChat has a full-blown mobile commerce platform built inside using the eCommerce platform, WePay (a Chinese version of PayPal). With WePay, users sync a real-world bank account to add credits and conduct transactions via the app. WeChat marketing is unique. WeChat has been used for mobile commerce by brands, celebrities, services and even WeChat themselves. Users can pay for everything and anything via the app. The ease of access to products and connectivity has led to users becoming more prone to conducting payments via mobile as opposed to any other method. From a business standpoint, having a strong and effective WeChat marketing strategy is essential. Brands looking to grow and promote themselves within China must be aware of this exciting and growing app as mobile is, without a doubt, the future of eCommerce.
Beijing-based Web Presence In China (WPIC) is an independent, full service digital marketing and IT development agency. Having over 13 years of on the ground experience in the China digital sector, the firm has worked with over 300 global companies and leads a team of 120 people between their global offices. WPIC supports China and the greater APAC region in digital and IT solutions.