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Some might say that WeChat is the Chinese version of WhatsApp. That Maybe due to the fact that the icon of both apps are suspiciously similar. Others might say that WeChat is a combination between WhatsApp and Facebook. That would be closer to reality; however it's still not precise.
So how to define WeChat? I would say that WeChat is a rich platform that includes a little of all our favorite ingredients: Filled with Facebook stuffing, baked with roasted E-wallets, slowly cooked with roasted Skype and chili-spiked Viber sauce. Then finally topped with WhatsApp chunks and you get the perfect dish for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even late night meals for the food lovers among us.
WeChat is one of the three main social networks/messaging apps in China. One of them is Weibo - Which is kind of like Twitter with very short "Twits" adding some features for bloggers and rich kids posting pictures of their dogs wearing iWatches. The other one is QQ – which is the Chinese version of ICQ (RIP your glory will be remembered for all eternity). I won't go into details but basically, QQ is dying and WeChat is growing very fast. Nowadays WeChat is considered to be the biggest messaging App. Of December 2015, WeChat has over a billion created accounts, 650 million monthly active users; with 70 million outside of China. In other words, if you deal with China you must have it. For example, a WeChat user in China can (and does) book a car ride (like Uber), transfer money (like PayPal), book plane or train tickets (like Expedia), buy goods online (like Amazon) and even make investments (like WealthFront) - but all without ever having to leave the WeChat app. Users can also use WeChat for booking doctor appointments, paying electricity fees or traffic fines.
"WeChat as a social network" allows its users to share their moments, which is the Facebook equivalent of "posting a status". However, to differ from Facebook there are some restrictions and distinctions between them. For example, On WeChat when you want to comment on other user's moments, only you, the other user and your mutual friends can see
this comment. Another example is that you can't share other user's moments. This makes it a bit hard to share ideas and promote marketing. BUT DON'T WORRY! There is a solution for that and it's called "Official Accounts". Official accounts are WeChat pages opened by companies, newspapers, magazines, businesses etc. The purpose of these pages are to offer extra\important content including discounts, marketing features or even build your own online stores. The users will see a symbol that shows when new information appears in the official account. More than that, Chinese people always use their mobile phones, and especially WeChat official accounts to read articles, news and to get discounts from different places - A LOT!
Another very important function of WeChat is the groups. It's similar to the groups you find on WhatsApp but on a much larger scale of people. There are groups for just about everything you can think of: groups for wholesale products, entrepreneurs, workplaces, Companies and even community issue groups, everything, really.
on the one hand, groups might be a bit annoying considering that a message sent in a group is received by about 400 people, making spamming a big problem (but you can mute them so don't worry).However on the other hand these large scale groups have the benefit of high marketing exposure and publicity.
The things I discussed above about WeChat were just a small piece of what WeChat really is all about. For more information and getting your keys to the Chinese online market, please contact our team, stay tuned.
Slava is an entrepreneur that has been living in China for the past two years. These days he has been working on a new project that might change the world of import! Stay tuned…