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WeChat – The Next In Thing on Mobile

According to the government-linked China Internet Network Information Center, over 695 million people in China are surfing the web with their phones. It comes as no surprise then, that China has the largest number of Internet users – 731 million.

Tencent, the Shenzhen-based giant that owns WeChat, reported that as of last year, the app has garnered 768 million active users, half of whom spend at least 1.5 hours a day surfing WeChat. It is fast becoming the default past time of China – ride the subway train and everyone would be on it.

Screen grab of the Orchard Road Business Association's (Orba) WeChat account. Orba set up the account two months ago to reach out directly to its Chinese audience.

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1. Official Accounts

If you think WeChat is merely a social messaging app used for chatting and sharing photos with your friends, you cannot be more wrong. While WeChat has chat functions similar to Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp, WeChat users can also interact with “official accounts” that are managed by businesses. These official acocunts appear on the users’ timelines whenever a new post comes up, so users now have free reign to promotions, products, services.

2. Payment through WeChat

Additional functions that WeChat allows for includes making payment through the app’s wallet. With the power of e-commerce in the palm of your hand, WeChat makes online shopping more convenient than ever.

3. A one-stop app

From shopping to banking, even dating and hailing for cab, users can do so through the app. Toggling between different apps and signing up for individual accounts is no longer necessary as third-party services partner with WeChat to feature their services on WeChat itself. Users can use all of these functions by simply opening the WeChat app.

4. Red packets exchange

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It hadn’t been too long ago when users of WeChat were fervently exchanging Red Packets, or virtual money, during the Chinese New Year season. Except this money is real. This is based on the Chinese tradition of giving red envelopes filled with money to the younger, unmarried generation in the family.

Similar to other payment apps, WeChat allows its users to send packets of predetermined amounts to each other, either individually or in groups. This feature was introduced on WeChat in 2014. It has since then received very good feedback, especially during Chinese New Year.

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[Chart via Tencent]

Today, almost 300 million of the 700-plus million active users of WeChat have their bank information recorded on WeChat Pay, making online transactions a breeze. This has contributed to the most bustling mobile payments economy in the world, with China’s mobile transactions shooting to $235 billion in 2015, claiming the top spot in the world.

We can see the immense potential of a single app, and how more businesses are catching on WeChat trend. Even brands outside of China are hopping on the bandwagon and updating their accounts regularly on WeChat. The era has come to live and breathe WeChat.

Want to get your dabble in WeChat for your business but not sure how? Contact us and let’s chat over coffee, we promise we won’t bite!

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