During my first day in Beijing, it became evident how strong of a presence WeChat possesses in China. After talking with an American, Chinese based colleague, he preceded to emphasize the influence it has on Chinese citizens even more. He literally stated “WeChat is taking over China.” Even since our last trip in June, WeChat has grown exponentially. For Chinese citizens it is many apps rolled into one – it is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Venmeo (yes!?), Open Table, the list goes on. In order for individuals and businesses to not only succeed, but survive and thrive in Beijing, they must have a presence on WeChat. The funny (maybe) thing is that it is very difficult as a foreign entity, such as The Wharton School, to have an active account. WeChat is taking over the way of doing business, but International organizations cant participate, is this on purpose? Why all the red tape lines and hurdles?
As we are in the thick of the PennWharton China Center Opening, part of the marketing plan included a social media strategy. Unfortunately, the team responsible for these social media marketing efforts hit a blockade when the number one social platform in China wouldn’t let them create a business account.
Besides the list of WeChat functionalities, it is also much cooler and the emojis are so fun. I’ve had conversations strictly through emojis. How great are these? They also are animated
I wish WeChat would take off in the states. Having multiple platforms serves its role when reaching different audiences and sharing different messaging, but to have them all under one umbrella and interconnected (similar to what a hashtag is capable of- linking key words stories etc) would benefit the goal of building and strengthening community through social media.
WeChat: One Messenger to Rule them all? discusses if the good and bad about WeChat and the hurdles it will have to overcome to succeed in achieving a one stop shop.
“WeChat’s growth is unparalleled as it leverages its ever-growing user base to gain traction on new products. It has managed user expectations and habits as it grew from messaging to a Swiss army-knife. However, such a strategy is short-sighted and runs the risk of bloating. Think about it — why hail a taxi through WeChat via DiDi Dache if you can do so via the DiDi Dache app (requiring one less click)? Eventually, with all these new products and features third party developers are building into the WeChat ecosystem, WeChat becomes an OS within an OS. Effectively, WeChat could grow its walled garden from a messaging app to an app ecosystem to building its own WeChat phones.”
WeChat allows users to connect and engage with their “friends” at many different levels without having to log in into this, or check that and post on this. They have one source that pretty much controls the social media presence and they are readily able to get information they are looking for. It not only streamlines communication, it also reduces competitive market share. China’s version of venmo and open table are not looking to compete with WeChat, but be a part of it. As mentioned, it is taking over China! If you are not a “we chatter” you will not survive.