Can you imagine a world in which a single social media platform could combine commerce, messaging, location and social networking? According to a recent article on Econsultancy, this unified service could become a reality within the next three to five years. But over in China, are they already there?
An app called WēixÌn (or WeChat) from a company called Tencent (a China-based holding group) is the fastest growing app in the world with the fifth largest community (after Facebook, YouTube, QQ and WhatsApp). The app was launched at the beginning of 2011 and has an estimated 600 million active users – up 40% between 2013 and 2014.
Like SnapChat and Instagram, users message their friends who are also using the platform and publish photos and short videos (called ‘Moments’) to their timelines.
For brands, they have the option of publishing content to a public timeline; anyone that follows them can view it, but consumers need to connect with a brand and ‘opt in’.
On average, a Chinese adult will read content on WeChat for over 40 minutes per day. They use it for everything from booking a taxi to sending money to friends in their network.
According to Econsultancy, the app is not so much a social channel, but rather a “complete customer relationship management system for brands.”
The success of WeChat is down to its seamless integration of micropayments and messaging, combined with its simplicity. Although our culture, language and networks may be different to those of China, brands still need to find a way of adding new forms of media to the customer journey.
Do you think WeChat will make its way West in the near future?