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7 April 2016

Get on the WeChat bandwagon

Facebook, Twitter, Google and many others may be off-limits but China is still experiencing a vibrant social media phenomenon. With the world’s largest number of internet users - the majority now through mobile devices - China has long had a flourishing indigenous social media scene. Many platforms most Westerners have never heard of have already come and gone, having ridden the wave of 100s-of-millions-plus users and then fallen into demise - like RenRen, Sina Weibo and many more.

The undisputed king of Chinese social media right now is WeChat (it means micro-message in its Chinese form ‘Weixin’). Originally an unassuming instant messaging app launched by Tencent back in 2011, it now dominates in China with over half a billion users and claims 100 million non-China based users. Unlike other major platforms in China, such as Qzone and QQ which claim higher numbers of users (all 3 owned by Tencent by the way), WeChat is growing strongly, and bundles together an unmatched mix of functionality.

So what’s it all about?  Pretty much everything in one neat little app basically- housing mini-sites which allow you to feed and share information, from the personal, to press releases and to blogs, with free (via Wi-Fi) chat, including group chats, telephone and video-sharing functionality. And it’s blazing a trail with pioneering new functionality such as the WeChat Wallet which enables bill-paying, purchasing and money transfers. So think Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and much more all in one place.

It’s what they call the ‘app-within-an-app’ model, meaning all this functionality - from purchasing a product to calling a taxi or fixing your doctor’s appointment - is accessible without having to leave WeChat. And businesses are getting excited and getting on board by setting up public or ‘Official Accounts’ (OA) - over 10 million registered so far. The Chinese government even has its own OA now.

China, not surprisingly, has the largest mobile commerce market in the world - estimated at well over $150 billion in 2014, and with triple-digit annual growth. Consumer brands are therefore looking at the e-commerce potential of WeChat, and many have set up shops on the platform.

It’s also being embraced by B2B companies - most of the large international brands now have their own OAs up and running. WeChat allows B2B brands to interact one-on-one with followers - enabling them to feed tailored content on a segmented basis, manage campaigns, run competitions and so on - so it is increasingly seen as an important brand-building and engagement tool within the B2B communications arsenal.

EMG’s team in China uses WeChat to maintain daily contact with clients and with the media, for example sharing industry and client news to authorised followers.

And jumping on the bandwagon, EMG  has launched its own WeChat Official Account keeping followers up-to-date with our own news as well as industry and client developments.


English language account

Chinese language account

Scan the relevant QR code in WeChat to add our OA account to your list.


Note: Scanning it using another QR code scanner will take you to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and prompt you to install WeChat on your phone.


 

Topics Digital, International, Social Media - Posted by John Gallagher