Wechat, the most popular App in China, AKA: Chinese “App for Everything” because of its multi-functions and platforms. The picture under is a chart of different popular mobile messenger App’s monthly active user in Jan 2018. Wechat has the monthly active user of 980 million which is higher than Skype and Snapchat, but lower than Facebook. However, the Facebook App’s user and market are across the world, but WeChat is only targeted in the Chinese market, and more than 90% user of WeChat users are Chinese.
WeChat was released by Tencent in 2011 and has been extremely successful in a very short period of time mainly because it’s convenient and private massager function. After its initial success, Tencent developed many different functions and mini-programs in the App which strengthen its market position.
Many people think WeChat is just a messaging App, but there than are so many cool ways that it can be used in China. Many of those features are not available for the U.S users, but this multi-function app has been dominated the Chinese mobile App for years, and it has huge market potential. But can WeChat enter the world’s market and take the market share from Facebook and Snapchat?
Base on the question, let’s start with the multi-function and platforms of this App.
1: WeChat Pay:
You can easily connect your credit card with WeChat and use your phone to make the most payment such as dining, grocery shopping, gas etc. in China by scan QR code. There are also other build-in features relates to a credit card, such as transfer money, sending lucky envelopes to friends in New Year, pay utility bills, make charitable contributions and even split the bill in a restaurant. You can also use the money to play some gambling games inside the WeChat. Those functions make payment a lot easier and more fun.
In addition, before mobile payment become popular, China was still in an era of cash payment, and using a credit card is not wildly accepted as a payment method in many cities. But nowadays, everyone is using WeChat as their “cash”.
2: Hail a cab or using as “Uber” :
If you need a ride, you do not have to download an Uber or to associate your credit card with any App. Just open your WeChat and use the mini-program inside it, this works for both Taxis and personal cars. After the service, you will pay with your WeChat.
3: Oder food delivery, booking flight and train tickets, booking hotel and more.
Of course, you don’t need “EAT24” or any food delivery apps in China, WeChat is the biggest platform for people to order delivery food, buying grocery, and book a hotel. What’s more impressive is that you can easily buy flight tickets and train tickets inside your WeChat App, so that you don’t have to use your computer and input your complicated credit card number with the concern of internet security.
4: Feeds and Business friendly public account.
Just as Twitter and Facebook, WeChat has its feeds and news. But unlike Facebook, which business users have to pay to promote their pages in order to be seen by followers, WeChat offers businesses to open official accounts as platforms for users to follow for free. Those official accounts post daily updates, feeds, videos etc., and most importantly, to promote their businesses.
Besides those functions above, there are so many other useful mini-programs such as real-time location map, searching people nearby, playing games, photo editing etc. Even it has so many things in it, the App itself looks very clean, Ads- free and easy to use.
I personally think the reasons that WeChat is successful in China is because of its different useful features and convenient payment method. But I think it is very unlikely that WeChat can enter the U.S market and take market shares from Facebook and Snapchat, because the mini-programs inside WeChat are having very similar features for U.S Apps such as Uber, Paypal, Hotel.com etc. Those popular Apps in the U.S already has a huge market share, and the switching cost for the U.S users are high. Besides, credit card payment is the method that adopted wildly in the United States, and mobile payment currently is not accepted in many places. Without the multi-function programs and WeChat Pay, it is just another mobile messenger App for U.S user and it’s hard to gain market share from Facebook.