The Chinese super app WeChat is not only a superior social media tool (as I wrote here), it is also at the forefront of mobile e-commerce innovation that the West has never seen.
As of this writing, WeChat has over 800 million users (yes, it seems that WeChat’s user base is growing by the minute). Better yet, its users are super active. An average user checks into the app 10 times a day. They are practically living on WeChat.
This has created a tremendous opportunity for brands to reach consumers. Reports indicate that brands in the fashion, watches, and jewelry categories receive an average of 7,000 views per WeChat post.
WeChat offers platforms for brands to engage in interactive and one-to-one communication, driving online-to-offline activities and encouraging loyalty. WeChat’s payment system allows brands to sell directly to consumers seamlessly. Its true potential has yet to be tapped. Continue reading
This video by Jonah Kessel of the New York Times came out about the same time as my previous article It’s Time for Facebook to Copy WeChat. It explains how WeChat works in greater detail. Enjoy!
Many in the West have long disdained Chinese firms as copycats. Some believe that no innovation from China can be called original. Baidu looks like Google, they argue, Alibaba is a version of Amazon, and Tencent imitates Facebook.
Wrong. In the example of Tencent’s WeChat, the Chinese social media platform, Western equivalents such as Facebook Messenger, What’s App, or Twitter look hopelessly inferior.
As I wrote two years ago, there is nothing like WeChat in the West. A super app, as some call it, WeChat is a mobile messaging board offering free video calls, group chat, and many fun features such as a shake function to link contacts with other users. Now it boasts 700 million users. Each user has a personal QR code that serves as a digital ID. Over half of users have linked their bank accounts to its mobile payment system. They can shop, hail a ride or book a hotel – right there while they are chatting with friends.
At an event in Shanghai last year, Elaine Chow, communication manager of the global digital consultancy Razorfish, demonstrated how she went about her day without her wallet. Continue reading