WeChat is the dominant messaging app in China and recently hit the milestone of one billion users. Of course, the vast majority of those users live in China and in terms of number of users it still lags WhatsApp 1.5 billion monthly users. WeChat is the jewel in the crown of Chinese tech powerhouse Tencent and there are a number of reasons why it is so popular.
Quickly evolved from calling and texting
Whilst it did start of as a simple instant messaging app and when you see it for the first time it looks and feels quite similar to other IM apps. Nevertheless, WeChat evolved into something far more sophisticated very quickly, allowing users to do much more than simply send text messages or place a VoIP call. It is not just China’s most popular social network anymore, but it is also the app people in China use to do everything from book a cab, order food, book an appointment with a doctor, conduct banking transactions and even find a date.
Now WeChat is integral to people’s lives in China
WeChat has become something that is integral to the lives of a billion people in China particularly those who live in cities. It is possible to go through the whole day using the app to fulfil every need which means its usage is likely to continue to grow. WeChat is particularly useful for payments because it simplifies the process. The Chinese have embraced digital payments technology and much of the younger generation have simply skipped using credit cards for making online payments. Instead they use services provided by Tencent and its rivals.
All users need to do is upload their banking details to WeChat and then the app can be used to purchase products or services from any official account. Tencent takes a tiny percentage from each transaction which means WeChat is a significant contributor to the tech giant’s earnings. Companies love WeChat as well because it allows millions of business to establish a presence on the smartphones of customers and potential customers. All they need to do is create an official account within WeChat.
Companies love the app as well
Another big reason for the success of the app is QR codes which China has adopted rapidly. The technology allows companies to get information to their users as well as facilitates payments. There are fairly limited amounts of advertising allowed on the app which means users don’t get annoyed and it is an extremely targeted way for companies to reach customers.