If you are someone that likes to keep up with the latest developments in technology I am sure you have already heard of WeChat. I found out about it by accident, approximately three weeks ago, from someone that just returned from China. It was developed by Tencent and first released in 2011. It has been very successful in China.
WeChat is defined as a social media application that brings instant messaging, commerce, and payment services all in one place. “Once you’re inside WeChat‘s app, you can hail a cab, manage your credit card bills, check the news, and more, all from within the main app. It’s this app-within-an-app functionality that has led WeChat to find success. WeChat is almost like a browser, with each individual official account acting like a web page, Chan notes.” (Article: This Chinese messaging app is taking the country by storm — and Facebook should pay attention by Maya Kossoff, August 10, 2015).
By 2016, WeChat reached almost 900 million active users 90% of whom are Chinese. “Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp (two other competitive international messaging services better-known in the West) had about 1,000 million Monthly Active Users in 2016 but did not offer most of the other services available on WeChat in China” (Wikipedia). Below, you will find some very useful informational material on understanding what WeChat is about, how it works, and how it could impact the future use of technology and life in general. Items 1 and 3 especially may help you understanding some of the unique features of this app.
- The New York Times – https://youtu.be/VAesMQ6VtK8 (August 9, 2016)
- From Wall Street Journal – https://youtu.be/PCWEHEsJ7co (May 15, 2013)
- Article “Bill Gates Opens Account In Chinese Social Media” – February 14, 2017 –
Even though the app has presented some flaws in its use and may have risen some security concerns, WeChat is continuously improving its features. You can’t survive in China today without this app. WeChat has revolutionized day-to-day life there. Chinese do not even use cash, carry a wallet, or a purse anymore. Many Chinese that spent time in the U.S. can’t wait to return to China because they feel technology is so much behind here.
WeChat may not have been successful in penetrating international markets outside of China. However, if we only consider the shift in the Chinese population, its popularity and function will only be on the rise. “By 2020, China hopes to move 100 million people from the country’s farming regions into cities. By 2026, it hopes to move 250 million.” (Article: Here’s China’s genius plan to move 250 million people from farms to cities by Chris Weller, August 5, 2015). This is a good time for people to be open – minded and look at some opportunities for their future.
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