Chinese Messaging App Takes China by Storm
WeChat, an app, is taking the country over. Tencent, the China based company that owns WeChat reported earlier this year that its WeChat app that is just four years old, now has more than 549 million active monthly users.
At the end of 2015, the company had reached 500 million, meaning the user base jumped by 9.8% in just months.
Facebook Messenger in comparison has 600 million MAUs across the globe, but it is not available within China.
WeChat is not like messaging apps in the West. To start with, it is not only a platform for messaging. Instead, WeChat has 10 million apps that are third-party. Nearly any company or organization can make their app, known as an official account. Media companies, brands, startups, banks and celebrities all have their own accounts.
Individuals that have accounts are able to access the APIs for features such as voice messaging, direct messaging, location and payments.
WeChat accounts are so popular one analyst said that some startups test out their apps by launching them on WeChat prior to creating their standalone app.
Once inside the WeChat app, you are able to call a cab, manage credit card statements, check the news or sports, and much more, all from just the main app.
It is the app within an app function that has led to the huge success of WeChat. The app is similar to a browser, with each official account acting like its own web page, said a Hong Kong based analyst.
In addition, 20% of users of WeChat use the app’s payments feature. Users can upload banking information or credit card data and are able to buy products as well as services for any of the official accounts in the WeChat app.
The innovations on WeChat, particularly it is mobile first and the model of app within an app makes other platforms for messaging such as Messenger by Facebook pale in comparison.
Even with advances made on Facebook Messenger of late including sending real money to friends, Facebook is blocked inside China giving WeChat a huge advantage there.