As the leading messaging app in China, WeChat is catching up with Facebook Messenger fast. Really fast. So fast that really, Facebook should watch out. But WeChat is not just a messaging app, it’s much, much more than that.
Tencent is the Chinese version of an internet giant. Its innovating approach in the way of app design and concepts has boosted WeChat incredibly high in an incredibly fast period. In just four years the app has reached and crossed the half a million monthly active users. So much so that the most recent report by its mother company says it has 549 million MAUs (if you haven’t guessed by now, monthly active users are like the dollars of the internet country).
The shocking facts come from a comparison with its previous announcement at the end of last year that 500 million MAUs have been reached. That means that in just about eight months, its user numbers grew by almost ten percent. At this rate, it’s rapidly approaching the MAU number of Facebook’s messaging app, which sits nicely at 600 million.
The big bonus for WeChat comes from the fact that is isn’t solely dedicated to messages. WeChat allows everyone to make a new app within its app – pretty cool? You might think. In fact it’s more than cool. It’s a viral phenomenon. WeChat boasts a mind-boggling 10 million apps made by third-parties. Everyone can have an official account: every company, every celebrity, any bank, and any brands. All startups can just make an account on WeChat and suddenly they are open to the world.
These official accounts can be accessed by anyone and be used for messaging, voice, payments and even location. Through these apps you can enjoy a multitude of services that in most other countries require separate apps to be downloaded from respective stores.
Essentially, WeChat is a browser, but a greatly optimized browsing experience, as everyone can make actually usable, practical apps. Most companies begin by making a WeChat app before the standalone version. This is how popular WeChat is.
Besides, WeChat has also introduced its payments feature, so now one can essentially use the app as one would use Amazon, eBay or other services. You can basically pay for anything from inside the app.
Still, the app has been criticized precisely for its all-in-one approach. However, it seems that many other apps are losing ground to WeChat on account of this. Facebook Messenger’s new features are not helping the situation at all. WeChat is on the rise, and will continue to be for quite a long time.
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