WeChat: Messaging in China
Mobile messaging took a new turn when messaging apps like Whatsapp or Viber came out a few years prior. Sending messages and images for free, as long as you had a device and an internet connexion, without having to pay the expensive SMS and MMS fees… That did sound promising. Growing fast in Europe and in the U.S., Whatsapp was in the lead in the messaging app market. However, it’s not as used in Asia, where local apps are preferred by users.
=WeChat, KakaoTalk, LINE, are the growing mobile messaging apps in Asia. Divided though it is, the messaging app scene in Asia is beginning its global expansion and the apps are battling for user recognition : WeChat, most used in China, is leading the way with 100 million global users in 2014, while LINE (Japan, Thailand), and Kakaotalk are not far behind.
WeChat has included innovative functionalities to the app, like Talkie Walkie voice messages, free calls, stickers (though LINE is the one that started the sticker craze, the other two followed soon after), localization sharing, profile views, linked games, etc. It’s also possible to link a credit card to your WeChat account, allowing companies to use WeChat as a selling and advertising platform : in China, WeChat is most popular and counts over 272 million monthly active users ; and it’s still growing ! We’ll get to witness the battle for global expansion between these three giants in the waiting, over the next few years.