WeChat transcends mobile chat app status by introducing online purchasing

Social media marketing in China is evolving at lightening pace with the latest innovations in social apps. Chinese mobile chat app WeChat is often the topic of conversation. Whether because of its possible copycat nature, its booming pool of users, or its raft of new features, WeChat is often in the news. It is even challenging Sina Weibo – the Twitter-like platform – for social media dominance, as more government controls over the latter drive users to desert the platform (source: CNN).

A trend, it seems, that is unlikely to change any time soon with the addition of yet another user feature. Already, WeChat incorporates social networking, photo sharing, news and mobile wallet. Now, the platform has added another feature: the ability for users to buy almost anything via the app.

What is WeChat?
What is WeChat?

WeChat’s latest move into e-commerce

This move isn’t the first time that the messaging app has offered online payments through its platform. Towards the end of last year, WeChat teamed up with smartphone maker Xiaomi for one of the company’s popular flash sales. WeChat users were able to reserve their phone in the run up to the special sale, available only through the WeChat app. On the 27th of November, it took just 9 minutes and 55 seconds for Xiaomi to sell all 150,000 units of its Mi3 smartphones which had been put aside especially for the sale (source: Tech in Asia).

Customers can now make purchases from brands inside WeChat

Both online and offline purchases can now be made using WeChat’s new feature. It gives brands the opportunity to sell through the app, allowing users to make purchases all from within WeChat. This offers a greatly heightened user experience, providing a huge range of features all accessible within one place. The function works for both online and offline purchases, meaning that customers can order goods to be delivered, or they can reserve items and then pay for them in store, most likely by having retailers scan a QR code generated by WeChat for the transaction (source: Tech in Asia).

WeChat payment functions can now also be found on some brand sites, such as those offering services including loyalty cards and online selling.

The rise of WeChat

WeChat may have started out being accused of copying other social platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp, but this has clearly not damaged its popularity. It is one of the most popular social media platforms on the globe, with over 600 million registered users by the end of 2013 (source: Tencent). Boosted by Lionel Messi’s endorsement, WeChat scores 100 million users outside of China by August 2013. It has continued to add features to make the social experience even more complete. 10million messages per minute were sent using WeChat on the eve of Chinese New Year, and over the New Year Period, the tradition of giving red envelopes containing money to friends and family went electronic, with 40million virtual hongbao sent using the app (source: Business Spectator).

Lionel Messi's WeChat endorsement
Lionel Messi’s WeChat endorsement

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The huge growth in WeChat proves just how popular social media is to Chinese internet users. This makes social media marketing one of the most effective ways of reaching your target market. Market Me China have the skills and knowledge to allow you to do this. Get in touch today to find out more.