WeChat: Much More Than Just “Social”

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I recently had the opportunity to participate in a show on Thoughtful China about WeChat. Below is the video as well as transcript for my part. Check out the full episode here.

You might also want to check out our infographic for Weibo vs. WeChat and our updated social media landscape for China.

You can also follow CIC’s WeChat here:


My part starts at 10’33” and finishes at 12’50” .



WeChat is the first Facebook of China to achieve such a massive scale of over 300 million users, hitting that mark 4 months faster than Sina Weibo did.

Tencent has given Chinese netizens, especially white collar netizens, a Facebook type strong link social link network that not only allows you to keep tabs of your real friends, which also brilliantly gets them addicted to the app with a WHAT’S APP walkie talkie function.

It also has a ‘LOOK AROUND’ which acts more like a ‘hook up’ function, INSTAGRAM imaging and a GROUP CHAT function which is a natural extension QQ groups and BBS forums which have long been the backbone of mainstream Chinese social web.

It’s a mobile, it’s social, it’s private and it’s fun.

And it’s not ‘EITHER/OR’ for Weibo vs. WeChat. Weibo is still the water cooler of China, the Zeitgeist, where netizens and observers of China can take the real time pulse of popular culture and sentiment and where you can show off to the world.

WeChat is the private social network where you hang out with real friends, who are found in your mobile phone address book and share personal moments with them,

While WeChat is more ‘SOCIAL’ and Sina weibo is the more ‘MEDIA’, they are both social media and in the end netizens will use both for different reasons, although the jury is still out about which one they will use the more than the other.

While it is unclear how or when Tencent will monetize WeChat, if anyone can do make it happen, the company who has been successfully monetizing social media in China for over a decade can make it happen.

Something to keep in mind is that while it is easy to pigeonhole WeChat as the next big social media app, it is in fact, much more than just ‘social’

WeChat is changing the way millions of consumers use voice, text, email and how they find information.

It can very easily link to Tencent’s massive Internet properties like weibo, Qzone, Pengyou, and QQ.

As a mobile app, its ability to provide Online to Offline functionalities is not being lost on retailers which can now enable them to join a loyalty club with simple scan of a QR code and eventually make payment right from Tencent’s payment system.

Are the credit card companies paying attention?

WeChat is certainly the new social media powerhouse on the block.

But what is really exciting is that WeChat’s the potential to change not only how consumers communicate and socialize, but ultimately how they do business with the companies.

Welcome to Social Business, China style.

Posted by   @   19 April 2013 0 comments


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