WeChat, a free text and voice messaging app developed by
Shenzhen-based Tencent Holdings Ltd., has become a leading light in
the field of social networking tools in China.
According to Tencent, WeChat has over 600 million users around
the world, with 450 million in China. Nearly one third of China's
population use the app. It is predicted that the number of domestic
WeChat users will reach 500 million by the end of this year. Ever
since its launch in January 2011, WeChat has been updated multiple
times, with every update adding new features to the app.
The application is exerting a sweeping influence among the
Chinese. One notable example that illustrates how this application
has changed people's lives is the giving out and receiving of
electronic red envelopes, or Lucky Money, through WeChat during
this year's Spring Festival in February.
WeChat has made it more convenient for people to communicate
with each other. People can send text and voice messages, pictures,
and videos to others free of charge, anywhere in the world as long
as they are connected to the Internet. In China, WeChat has almost
replaced conventional mobile text messages. Users are also able to
upload photos and other information, which can be seen and
commented on by their friends. What's more, the platform ensures
privacy because uploaded photos and videos can be viewed only by
those they have befriended on the platform.
Public accounts on WeChat have provided a new way for people to
get information. Users can subscribe to particular public accounts
according to their own needs and interests and receive regular
feeds. Today, the information explosion online has made it
increasingly difficult for people to sort out what is useful.
Public accounts on WeChat filter huge amounts of information
available online and present useful news in specific fields to
In addition, the app has offered a platform for companies and
individuals to promote products and conduct online sales. It also
allows users to make payments at both online and brick-and-mortar
WeChat has penetrated almost every aspect of people's lives.
Will the changes it has brought about be as transient as those of
other apps? Fang Xingdong, founder of Blogchina.com and an IT
columnist, said WeChat has combined multiple functions in one and
represents one of the most vibrant products since the advent of the
It is expected that the app will continue to deliver