Tag Archives: wechat

As Messaging App WeChat Pushes Past 300M Users, Owner Tencent Sets Up Shop In Singapore To Spin It Off

Tencent has had listed business entity in Singapore since May, although it’s denied rumors that it intends to list WeChat on the Singapore stock exchange (SGX).

A China Daily report on Tuesday quoted an unnamed source saying that the Hong Kong-listed Chinese social networking giant plans to list its WeChat product in Singapore, and that it had opened an office here to support that.

Update: Tencent’s appointed Singapore PR firm just sent us a note to say: “This market news is not true and we have no idea where this market rumor originates from.”

The company, however did recently open an office here, and appointed its founder, Pony Ma (Ma Huateng), as the director as recently as Aug 1 this year.

Sgentrepreneurs dug out the company’s listing with the regulator, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority Singapore (Acra), and found that it was registered in May.

A search on Acra’s listing site reveals that Tencent has two entities listed under the same office address: one Tencent International Service, and another Tencent Social.

Tencent’s other top executives, including Zhang Zhidong and Charles St Leger Searle, are listed as directors on file.

The original China Daily report stated that Tencent’s interests in the SGX were to avoid regulatory issues involved with listing WeChat on the same exchange as its parent company.

WeChat has, at last count, about 195 million active users per month, and a base of 300 million registered users, making it one of the most popular messaging apps globally.

The Leaked New Features with WeChat 5.0 Look Too Good

We’ve been waiting for the new version of WeChat (or Weixin), edition 5.0, for a while that reportedly would be a major update. Today we heard about some of the new features, some of which sound too good. We still have to wait for the launch day, which is still unknown, to see it for ourselves.

The Almighty Scanner

Scan to see places around you. The feature can locate where you are and show images of places around your location. It sounds possible to add such a capability as Tencent’s Soso Maps also has a Google Street View-like service.

Scan for translations. A text in one language can be translated into another if you scan it with WeChat scanner. It also sounds feasible as Soso Huiyan, an app from QQ Labs, can do so.

Scan to get the information of a good. The details about a book or CD would show up after you scan the bar code on it. It also can be realized by Soso Huiyan.

Shake to get videos

Currently the version for the mainland China can recognized music if you shake your phone. It seems it works the same with the music recognition function that it tells and searchs for a video through the sound.

Chat history, including voice messages, and posts on Moments will be saved automatically. The capability has been well-functioning and much welcomed by QQ IM users. The current version can save the chat history for users for seven days but you have to turn it on manually.

Game Center

 With about 11 game titles in the offering, WeChat is expecting to generate some revenue. Of course, this revenue would come directly from the newly introduced payment service, called ‘WeChat Payment’ that will collect money from the users. You will be able to associate your bank accounts with your account. There’s a new built-in scanner that can read and recognize books, CDs and other goods. The scanner can recognize English / Chinese words and perform translations on the go.

Much awaited voice-to-text capability has been added. At present the technology only supports Mandarin and the makers of the app claim that they’ve developed the technology completely in-house. Those who love to add graphics in their messages may take a look at the new emoticon market. Paid emoticons will be made available for about a US dollar each.

Do share your thoughts about the new WeChat once you get the update in your country.

How Marketers in China Are Using WeChat

Durex

Durex uses WeChat in a culture where public discussion about private issues is uncommon. Fans curious about love, sex and relationships get a response from a real person, even at 2 a.m. “We try to be there when you expect a friend to be there for you,” said Ben Wilson, marketing director for Reckitt Benckiser in China. Each week, a “newsletter” of Q-and-As is sent to Durex’s WeChat friends.

Nike

Tens of thousands flocked to Nike’s Festival of Sport last summer, sampling everything from skateboarding to football to golf.
AKQA created a badge-collection system using WeChat’s QR-code scanner, replacing a paper passport. Fans completing certain challenges could win a chance to meet stars like LeBron James.

Intel

London Olympics competitions largely took place in the middle of the night in China. So Intel hired two celebrity hosts to provide audio updates three times a day. Each morning, they summarized the previous night’s events. At lunchtime, fans were given an Olympics or Intel-related contest question. In the evening, the hosts announced winners along with another sports update.

Starbucks

To reach customers through music, Starbucks asked fans: “How are you feeling today?” They responded with an emoticon, and Starbucks answered with a song to match the mood. The chain added 270,000 WeChat friends over the four-week campaign. “We don’t just push offers at you,” said Marie Han Silloway, Starbucks’ marketing chief for China. “We start a personal conversation.”

China’s Fast-Growing WeChat Shakes Up Weibo. Could It Jump to the U.S.?

Move over, Weibo. Here comes WeChat. Weibo, China’s microblogging platform that’s a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook, was the hot place to be as recently as last year. Now, marketers are clamoring to engage with WeChat and the 300 million users it’s amassed in just two years.

“Everyone is using WeChat, so marketers are wondering how can they use it in their communications,” said Sophia Ong, the executive at WeChat’s parent company, Tencent, who helps marketers navigate the internet giant’s myriad platforms. “They know it’s very influential, everyone is using and sharing it. And slowly some brands are coming out with official WeChat accounts.”

China’s newest digital darling is a mashup of several existing applications, with a few fun features like “Shake Shake” and “Drift Bottle.” WeChat users trade text, audio and video messages with friends over mobile-data networks. There’s a popular group-messaging function and newly unveiled live-chat capabilities. Photos can be posted on an Instagram-like “Moments” page, while “Look Around” identifies other WeChat users nearby. There’s also a QR-code reader.

“We love to use all the social connections because different people want to connect with us in different ways,” said Ben Wilson, marketing director for Reckitt Benckiser in China, talking about Durex’s online-communication strategy. “On WeChat, you can be a little more personal.”

One big reason for WeChat’s stellar growth is that contact lists are linked to Tencent’s QQ instant-messaging platform, which has more than 700 million active accounts. But users can also make friends through Drift Bottle — picking (and sending) notes at random from mobile cyberspace. Shake Shake connects users who happen to be shaking their smartphones at the same time. It’s a quick way to swap contact details. Pete Blackshaw, global head of digital at Nestle, recently tweeted about having a major WeChat “shake-fest with friends and colleagues.”

Should Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Skype and others be worried? Considering that WeChat’s stellar growth has come in large part from QQ, maybe not. But Mark Natkin, a technology analyst in Beijing, says the West can learn a thing or two from WeChat.

“They can be a little more aggressive in adding more social features more quickly,” he said. “In the earlier stages, any user you mentioned WeChat to would say, “Oh, Shake Shake! I can go out and meet people I don’t know.’ It was something interesting and unusual. And that got a lot of buzz going, getting people to try it.”

Out of all the Chinese digital products, WeChat is perhaps the best positioned for global expansion. Launched in January 2011 as Weixin (“way-sheen”), it was rebranded in April 2012 with the globally palatable moniker WeChat. It’s offered in languages from English to Turkish to Arabic. Tencent says WeChat is Apple’s No. 1 social-networking app in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Malaysia, but also in Saudi Arabia. It’s being promoted in Indonesia, India, Argentina and Australia.

Blog TechNode quoted WeChat Product Director Zeng Ming as saying that Europe and the States is its next challenge.

Tencent has been picky about who’s allowed to do WeChat marketing. “Every time we talk to clients, we say you have to commit to doing social CRM,” Ms. Ong said.

WeChat App Pushes Into Social Media Marketing Via QR Codes

The world’s biggest group messaging app, Tencent’s WeChat – or “Weixin” as it’s called in Chinese – is taking an interesting turn in China. It is now also a platform for social media marketing, allowing blogs, newspapers, TV shows, brands, and celebrities to reach out directly to the app’s 100+ million users.

This new aspect of WeChat is being pushed by Tencent on mp.weixin.qq.com, where users of the messaging app can login and browse some interesting people or media to follow. It makes the messaging app a lot more like China’s Twitter clones, such as Tencent Weibo and its rival Sina Weibo. Already, a bunch of Chinese celebrities have agreed to join in the fun, as well as popular TV programmes like the dating show Fei Chang Wu Rao. Also, it’s good to see that lots of local tech blogs are trying this social media venture as well.

It all centers around QR codes, which are readable within the WeChat app. QR codes are easily created by anyone within the app, and can be shared on the web or printed out. Now, with this new focus on using it for marketing, it’s a tool for brands as well. Possible future uses include dishing out discount coupons to loyal and engaged customers. This means that companies now need to consider WeChat as a means of reaching out to Chinese consumers.

To test this out, I went to Chinese-language tech blog iFanr.com and scanned its new WeChat QR code. Now I’ve friended – or followed – the site on WeChat, and it occasionally sends out a mass message to everyone who follows.

Thankfully iFanr has been nice and just sent me two messages over the course of two days. But, in theory, this whole marketing push could be used to spam users directly on their phones.

At the moment, though, the whole system is rather over-reliant on those QR codes. There’s no good way to search for all these brands, blogs, and celebs within the WeChat app, so you’ll need to find and snap that QR elsewhere on the web. It’s conceivable that Tencent will add some kind of discovery portal within the app soon. With that in place, the group messaging app will have taken a clever – if somewhat odd – step forward in becoming a lot more like Weibo.

Meanwhile, over in Korea and Japan, messaging apps KakaoTalk and Line have taken a different approach and launched social gaming platforms. With Tencent also being the king of gaming in China, it’s possible that WeChat could also go in that direction at a later date.