Chinese WeChat goes abroadUpdated: 2013-07-30 09:32
Competition in the text messaging market is heating up. One program, carving out a bigger share of the market, is WeChat or Weixin in Chinese owned by Chinese internet giant Tencent. It's currently the number one messaging App in China.
Tang Li, a student from University of California Berkeley, is leaving a voice message for his mother at home in Jiangsu Province, China. The communication is completely free through the popular messaging App WeChat. He says, "we chat among students on WeChat here to talk about homework assignments, about like club meetings and I also chat with my parents on WeChat."
Fellow Chinese student Ashley Ji used to message with the popular WhatsApp, but switched to WeChat because of the playful emotions. She says, "WeChat? we can add our own emotions, not only what Tencent provides, also our own designs, more interesting. More personal."
Marcos Sanchez from App Annie says "some of our Asian markets, Korea in particular, some of the companies that float to the top in terms of revenue are actually emoticon companies. We don't see that in the US market per se." App Annie measures global app metrics.
In Google's Play Store Facebook Messenger is the runaway leader among communications app downloads. At Number 6 is U-S based "WhatsApp." On this particular day, WeChat comes in at number 21. Its ranking is lower on the iPhone. But on Apple's platform, WeChat has at one time or another, reached number one in 45 different countries, ranging from Madagascar to Mexico. In the US, WeChat use is on the rise.
Sanchez says, "I've used one feature called look around and it will actually tell you the users nearby.  Probably a good 80-90 percent of the users were Chinese But it was funny to me I did actually notice a few folks that were American."
Mark Niu says, "Tencent, which now has several offices in the US, hopes to grow their WeChat user base in America. The company did recently announce that it had 70 million registered WeChat users outside of China a jump of 30 million users in roughly three months."