Considered by many Westerners the “Chinese version of Whatsapp”, WeChat is actually much more than that.
To make it simple, WeChat allows two things:
1. Communicate with others by text, audio and video (not different from Whatsapp in this aspect);
2. Enabling mini-programs inside it to do almost anything else.
The second part is what makes WeChat so special.
Practically anybody can make a mini-program and whoever has WeChat can install and use it. The same logic is used by Alipay, which is WeChat’s competitor in many aspects.
Some of those mini-programs are so simple that even foreigners with no understanding of english or Chinese can use them.
– Paying and receiving payments, through WeChatPay, by scanning QR codes or just sending money like a message to the WeChat account of your friend. There is also a nice feature to send virtual hongbao (the traditional red pockets with money inside). A recent feature which is very useful for those who tend to have no battery on the phone is the face payment: basically you use your face, combined with your personal password, to make the payment;
– Managing and categorizing your balance and expenses, acting as a bank app for your WeChatPay account;
– For your regular life, you can pay for your home utilities such as electricity, internet and so on, and order food deliveries, movie tickets, request a private taxi driver via DiDi (China’s Uber), sell or buy second-hand products or get together with other buyers to get a better discount using the mass purchase (something quite common in China);
– Show your Health Code that can let anybody recognize your health situation during the lockdown and after (currently it is still necessary to enter hospitals, for example);
– For travelers, you can purchase train or plane tickets, find hotels or restaurants or the best places to hangout;
– Let you share your status (WeChat moments) to connect with your friends. Feature very used for commercial activities, as it lets virtually everybody you know see that.
And many more are available. This makes virtually anybody (regardless of age, as there are lots of elderly users) with a smartphone own a WeChat account and use it daily. Basically, WeChat is the only door that can let you access more than 1,2 billion of verified users, all together.
Another interesting feature, especially for marketing, is the WeChat public account: some use it to send post, share pictures or videos – in practice, promote themselves to become influencers; others to make company marketing just like a Facebook page in the West.
In practice, if:
1. You need to get into Chinese market by marketing your company and your product;
2. You want to provide convenient payment methods, such as WeChat’s QR payment, to your customers or use them to pay your suppliers. Remember WeChat works also in other countries and many important brands in big cities such as London and Rome are adopting it to help their Chinese customers to shop without worries;
3. You want to get in touch with potential customers and suppliers in a way that is comfortable for them. Most people use WeChat for almost all their communication, since it’s way quicker than emails or using other messaging apps.
If even one of those points is important to you, then having a WeChat account is a must.
Wisely using your WeChat account might not be easy, but being there and learning what works and what does not is definitely going to pay in the medium-long term.
SinoActive will offer you help and consulting services to manage your professional WeChat public account in the first period, so that you can start pretty fast with good quality content, and then soon learn from us how to manage it on your own.