Yes, I am talking about Wechat, the top 1 instance message App in China or in the world, and the registered account globally has reached 1 billion this year, this is an enormous number, which means wechat could be anything, in fact, wechat have already expand the IM app to e-pay, blog platform, game platform.
Tencent is one of the three China giant standing behind the wechat, and developed wechat since 2010, and it is still under active development now.
So why wechat is so successful in China? here is some my insight.
- The competitor app, iMessage, from Apple is pretty conservative for adding the new function at that time, while wechat has already achieved the voice message exchange.
- Cross platform is important for app in China, as there are a lots of android based user, so wechat is more adaptive, in the competition with Skype, Skype also lost the battle because of the unclear strategy in China and the privacy information leak scandal.
- Wechat is handy and simple for a long time, especially for the elder people, they don’t have to learn much to get started, not much learning curve. You know, most of the older people can not use any of the input method, so the voice message is killing function.
- To use wechat in China, the latency is pretty slow, because Tencent had good experience of running the QQ chatting IM software across China for years, which is originally more like ICQ, but later, QQ(former OICQ) developed based on the requirement of Chinese people and exceeded and part away from ICQ.
- Circle sharing is one of the most important applet in wechat to share information to your friends, although in recent years, this applet was criticized a lot for extremely showing off, commercial trending.
- wechat pay is convenient, and you can use it in almost everywhere in China.
In fact there is no de facto coming challenge in China, and all other popular IM app such as what’s app or line was partially or complete blocked in China, so if you want to connect with Chinese people, wechat is almost the only one choice in practice.
Wechat still have their limitation you should probably take into consideration when you decide to use it.
- Privacy problem, as you my know, all your chatting history would be under surveillance by authority, and would be put on the court as evidence. But this is based on the cyber law enacted in China, iCloud also moved their data to China company in 2018.
- Wechat has become a ‘fat’ App, except the IM function, there is lot of applet in wechat, 90% will never used by ordinary people.
- Wechat has a attempt to take over lots of functions from OS level, such as, pay channel, video, audio, usually such functions was built in hardware level in iPhone, in some way, you can treat the single wechat as a complete phone, all your information is build on top of wechat, so you can afford to loss your iPhone but not loss your wechat account. Apple may have notice that problem, so they also put a lot of restriction on wechat especially for the pay channel.
- Android version of wechat would have much more chance to steal your information as wechat require excessive system privilege, while in Apple store, the privilege was restricted for wechat. So in short, if you use wechat, iPhone version is more secure for your information.
- Wechat had developed e-business platform within the app, but currently it is still not a comparable competitor to Taobao.com App. The user experience is pretty bad.
Finally, I found a matrix picture about current IM app in China, I did not verify the accuracy, you can take it as a reference.