As a leading social media app in China, WeChat has seen tremendous success in connecting people and facilitating communication, commerce, and payment. With nearly 1.3 billion monthly active users, this superapp is considered a ubiquitous part of daily life in China. The app is deeply ingrained in daily life, and it's used for everything from messaging and calling, to making payments and ordering groceries. This level of integration is unmatched by any other messaging app in the world. However, despite its global reach, WeChat's success is primarily concentrated in China. But how does WeChat compare to other social media apps in the western world?
First and foremost, it's important to note that WeChat is not just a messaging app. It offers a wide range of features such as social networking (called "Moments”), mobile payments (WeChat Pay), and e-commerce (in-app mini-programs) which we discuss below. This all-in-one functionality sets WeChat apart from other messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook.
But before we discuss some of WeChats' unique features, let’s do a quick side by side comparison of WeChat vs. WhatsApp and Facebook.
So what are some WeChat features that differentiates this app from others? Let's talk about three of them: WeChat Moments, WeChat Pay and WeChat Mini-Programs.
WeChat Moments is a feature on the WeChat app that allows users to share photos, text updates, and videos with a select group of friends. It is a way for users to share their daily experiences, thoughts and activities with a specific group of people, rather than with all their contacts on the app. Moments is similar to a "story" feature on other social media apps like Instagram or Snapchat.
One of the key benefits of Moments is that it allows users to share personal information with a smaller, more intimate group of people, without the fear of it being seen by the public. This feature is particularly popular in China, where privacy concerns are high. According to a survey, 76% of WeChat users use Moments to share experiences and to catch up with their friends’ stories on a daily basis, with 61% of WeChat users checking their Moments every time they open the app.
Moments is also a great way for users to stay connected with their friends and family, as well as discover new content from people they know. On average, WeChat users spend around 20 minutes per day on Moments, browsing through posts from friends and family, and commenting on them. Another key benefit of Moments is that it allows for user engagement, as it allows users to like and comment on their friends' Moments. This feature has led to a high level of user engagement on the app, with users posting an average of 9 Moments per month.
WeChat Pay is a mobile payment feature that is integrated into the WeChat app. It allows users to make payments, transfer money and manage their bank accounts all within the WeChat app. It's similar to other mobile payment options like Apple Pay or Venmo. To use WeChat Pay, users first link their bank account or credit card to their WeChat account. Once that's done, they can use WeChat Pay to make payments for various goods and services, such as buying things online, paying for a taxi, or even splitting a bill with friends.
WeChat Pay can be used in a wide range of merchant services, both online and offline, including retail, food and beverage, transportation, and utilities. This feature has made WeChat an all-in-one service for communication, payment and commerce.
WeChat Mini-Programs are small, lightweight apps that run within the WeChat app. They are designed to provide users with a variety of services and functionalities, such as ordering food, hailing a taxi, shopping, booking a hotel, or even accessing government services, without ever leaving the WeChat app.
Imagine you're using WeChat to communicate with friends and family, and you want to order food for delivery, instead of leaving the WeChat app and opening another app, you can just open the mini-program for the restaurant you want to order from, select your food and make the payment, all within the WeChat app. This allows users to access a wide range of services and functionalities without the need to download and install multiple apps, it saves space on your phone and also makes it more convenient and efficient for users as they don't need to switch between different apps.
WeChat Mini-Programs also provide an easy way for businesses and organizations to reach customers. By creating their own mini-programs, they can connect with customers and sell products and services directly on the app.
WeChat is a social media app that has seen tremendous success in connecting people and facilitating communication, commerce, and payment - both in and outside of China. With nearly 1.3 billion monthly active users, it's considered a ubiquitous part of daily life for most Chinese. WeChat's all-in-one functionality sets it apart from other messaging apps, offering a wide range of features such as social networking (WeChat Moments), mobile payments (WeChat Pay), and Mini-Programs which are deeply ingrained in the daily lives of its users. WeChat's success in China is a testament to the app's ability to meet the needs of its users in a seamless and convenient way. As WeChat continues to grow and evolve, it will be interesting to see if other social media apps adopt some of its unique features and functionalities.