NBH has created a full WeChat Guide where you can learn everything you need to know about WeChat. WeChat with all its features it is sometimes difficult to get a grip on how it can be used both from a user and business perspective. In this Insight, have we summarized the topics of the guide. To get access to the (free) 19 pages guide you can download it here right away, or at the end of this summery!
What is WeChat?
WeChat which once started as a “micro-messaging” app is today beyond more than “just” a messaging app. WeChat has become a big inspiration in the global tech world, it has built its own digital landscape and seems to continue booming.
WeChat got launched in 2011 by Tencent. It started as a “micro-messaging app” and has today all kinds of features such as WeChat payment, networking, find location, WeChat mini-program, etc. For those who’s been in China, especially the recent years, WeChat is not an app you can escape from. For the others, it might be a bit difficult to understand how this MonsterApp (as it sometimes refers to) works, and especially how important its features can be when doing business in China.
WeChat has today 1,25 billion users (Tencent, 2021), which is huge if you compared to the China population that is 1.4 billion.
Simply say, WeChat is more than just an app.
When it comes to doing business in China, and using WeChat as a marketing tool, it is important to understand its structure.
WeChat exists in two different versions, a domestic version that is only available in mainland China and an international version that can be downloaded and used worldwide.
The domestic version operates in a separate system and has access to completely different functions than the one that is available internationally. The international version lacks many of the features that make WeChat unique, and is more limited, it can therefore be more likened to a traditional micro-messaging app.
Official Account Vs. Private Account
WeChat has two different types of accounts, personal accounts or Private Accounts that you as an individual user to access all the functions that the app offers. The other type of account is the Official Account. Official accounts are for companies, brands, and high-profile people. The purpose of an official account is to be able to communicate directly with publishers or customers and redirect them to their own website or online store. Official accounts can be further divided into three subgroups.
- Service account is for communicating with customers and stakeholders. The account has a lot of sales and service-oriented functions
- Subscriptions account focuses more on marketing and external communication. This is the only type of official account that can be opened by individuals as it does not require a company license.
- Enterprise account can be seen as a digital workplace platform or intranet. It has functions that are more adapted for internal communication. In many ways it is possible to compare it to Slack or Teams.
You have probably used QR codes before, for example, to add friends on Snapchat or open up links to web pages. But in China, QR codes are much, much more and are a major contributing factor to WeChat’s major success. QR codes are used for payment, adding friends, exchanging business cards, accessing public services, tipping at bars, and much more.
The QR code is a fundamental part of WeChat’s ecosystem and virtually everyone who does business in China uses them in one way or another.
Lots of features and even more possibilities
WeChat is unique in many ways and the fact that it is used both privately and in business means that its potential is enormous. But the potential does not just lie in the ability to communicate. With its various functions, WeChat has gone from a micro-messaging app to a Mega-App that, in simple terms, can handle almost anything.
Some of these key features include:
- WeChat Networking: By networking, we mean all kinds of networking. Between friends, family, co-workers. Email has in China become a bit “unfashion”, people rather use WeChat when doing business. Create group chats, video, send documents etc.
- WeChat Moments: Moments acts as a newsfeed similar to Instagram or Facebook. The difference is that you can only see comments and interact with those you have connected to.
- WeChat Pay: WeChat pay is directly linked to the user’s bank and is used for payment or to send money to friends.
- Mini-program: Mini programs can be described as an app within the app and are completely cloud-based. This means that the user does not have to download the applications directly to the mobile phone, it exists within WeChat’s own ecosystem. Today there are Mini Programs for everything you can think of, e.g. order taxis, e-commerce, hotel bookings, pay bills and much more.
WeChat has succeeded in creating a unique ecosystem and in many ways redefined the concept of an app. With its huge spread and popularity, it is a must for anyone who wants to do business or market themselves in China.
Are you interested in immersing yourself even more?