While iMessage and Whatsapp is considered to be the standard text messaging platform for most of the world, it was missing several major components that could be found in its competitor , WeChat. The latter is first and foremost a messaging platform, and provides many services and features to those located within a specified region. Its full-fledged features are open only to those that live in China and the application’s messaging and file transfer features are available to everyone outside the country.
Contrary to the silo mentality that many app developers face, WeChat is disrupting the industry through its all-in-one platform. Its prominent features include booking hotels, playing games, buying movie tickets and hailing a taxi to name just a few. The application is free and advertising is new to this brand, thus most of the revenue generated comes from the features highlighted previously.
All of these sounds well and good but just how successful is WeChat? The short answer to that is, very. This borderline so called “ operating system” is widely used across the nation and has over 818 million monthly active users (MAU) – 200m less than Facebook messenger and over 1 billion registered users (ref 1). Estimated revenue for this year is also set at $1.1b or $6.8b Yuan ( ref 2) It’s dominance is a results of its “jack of all trades” mentality that is present in the platform. It not only wanted to be a messaging app but also hinges on other features that its consumers value. It is clear that its biggest goal to WeChat is to build a mobile lifestyle rather than focus on users for its messaging feature like most of its competitors.
The app within an app phenomenon is not new to many developers in the world but this company is the only one that thrives with this model. While there are many comparable businesses that use this model currently ( i.e GoJek) , WeChat is the only one spearheading this into a lucrative business through partnerships. The features are called “Official Accounts” and could come from many businesses and partners. Due to the fact that users are always logged in on WeChat, companies have a more streamlined process in tracking data and verifying credentials. Users on the other hand requires less steps to log in to separate “official accounts”.
I for one believe that this application is a good example of what is to become the standard of mobile applications. As the company I would promote heavily on its main features with a focus on payments. WeChat wallet connects many of the features associated with the official partners and provided an additional core competency of the application. To integrate this product to a digital strategy I would suggest heavily using social media to advertise the many features and using third part official partners to help spread the word as well. Perhaps showing a WeChat symbol alongside the partner’s collateral would show connectivity between the two brands. Promoting e-commerce stores is also a good step into a creating a cohesive digital marketing strategy. Integration on gaming sites and public endorsement deals.