WeChat is China’s number one instant messaging and social media app. Scanning someone’s QR code to add their WeChat seems to have taken the place of a handshake as the accepted etiquette for meeting someone.
The chat function works just like WhatsApp; users can send text and voice messages back and forth. One difference being voice messages are much more popular on WeChat and send much quicker than on WhatsApp. So fast, in fact, that it’s like having a phone conversation without having to make a call. Video messaging is also enabled on WeChat.
WeChat Moments is similar to Facebook’s News Feed. People like to share photos of themselves or what they’ve been up to, news articles they find interesting, and what’s on their mind.
The WeChat team have released a report detailing their huge user base, including demographics and usage habits. The numbers are BIG.
Here are some of the highlights, presented by China Channel:
WeChat’s user base of 768,000,000 is truly astronomical. But what’s apparent from the data is the big gap in usage between young people and elderly people. Only 1% of WeChat’s user base is over 55. No wonder grandparents get angry at their grandchildren staring at their phones at the table.
While 90 minutes per day might seem like a lot of time to spend on a messaging app, it’s important to remember that that’s not all WeChat can do.
WeChat wallet allows users to pay for goods and services by scanning a QR code. Your WeChat account is linked to your bank account so there’s no messing around with bank cards and PIN numbers. Go out for a meal: pay with WeChat. Need to pay your rent: WeChat. Want to buy cinema tickets: use WeChat. Flights, street food, taxis, groceries, clothes, sending a lucky money red envelope to friends… Who needs a real wallet when you have WeChat?