WeChat is a Chinese-based messenger that is causing massive waves in the world of mobile apps.
Our editor took a deep dive into this messaging platform in a bid to unfold what this once simple messaging and calling app has turned out to become.
There is no doubt that a lot has already been written about WeChat. However, it is also true to say that very few people who live outside China have the knowledge of what this app is. What this app does to Chinese people is still a dream in many countries across the globe. Also, competing companies such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are still miles away and in fact, they have a lot to learn from this Chinese chat app.
Recently, WeChat made its motives clear to the world by posting an English language blog that detail out some of the specifics of the app in what it refers to as the WeChat lifestyle.
WeChat has 600m users, WhatsApp has 900m users
WeChat and WhatsApp are two competing apps. While the former has a user base of more than 600 million users, the latter boasts a massive 900 million users per month. Despite the huge figures at Facebook-owned WhatsApp, there is no real business model in aplace as with the case of WeChat.
Reports reveal that each WeChat user adds revenue of $7, a figure that could easily mean the app gets $4.2 billion annually just in transactions alone. Surprisingly, this figure is only affecting China and a few other Asian countries. What if the app spread its wings to other parts of the world with the same services or even advanced services on offer?
China has a huge mobile market, with July stats showing that it had passed 250 million 4G subscribers. The country has an estimated mobile user base of close to 1.3 billion which most companies would love to call home even without thinking of crossing the borders. However, Tencent is thinking otherwise – an indicator that it is not one of the “most” companies.
WeChat is coming to the U.S. to take on Facebook Messenger
WeChat has already shelled out $50 million to Canadian app Kik, and this is in a bid to expand its international recognition. However, this will not be enough if the company wants to take off the notion that WeChat is a Chinese-based app that only favors Chinese people. One thing that must first be done is to bring the app to the West in English. In this way, users can now begin embracing the app’s smart life, transportation and delivery services, online payments and donations, employment, media, and entertainment as well as health services.
Facebook recently announced that it was testing an AI-based digital assistant known as M, and it will be integrated into the Messenger app. However, with what is already on the table with China’s WeChat, it just shows how far the country has already gone when it comes to innovation in the instant messaging space, especially when compared to the United States.
In essence, WeChat is the leading mobile application, and it is clearly showing Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Kik, Snapchat and other messaging apps where they should head. In addition, this Chinese chat app is an indicator of where the future of mobile commerce may be headed and furthermore, it shows other competing players what it means to be a mobile portal and at the same time a platform, something that Yahoo could easily have become.