In America we have a lot of different apps to do a plethora of different things. Such as Facebook where you can share pictures, stories, comment on other users’ pictures and stories, as well as buy and sell things. There is also Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Twitter to name a few more apps that we use consistently to share our world. In China, however they aren’t allowed to use outside apps as they are banned. They have Weixin (pronounced “way-shin”) which is also called WeChat. Weixin was founded in 2011 by Tencent and has quickly become the main social media platform that “allows its users to send messages, share news, and pictures via their mobile phone” (Mahoney & Tang, 2017) I find myself fascinated by the thought of having just one app that would take care of all my needs versus having to use several apps that clog up my cell phone and if I’m honest can be a time suck.
Reading the case study about Weixin, I have found out that the application is not only a “combination of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and eBay” (Mahoney & Tang, 2017), it is also user friendly. One would think with so much packed into an app that it would be hard to navigate because of complexity. Mahoney and Tang state, “Weixin allows its users to record messages by simply holding on one button and talking, which saves the trouble of typing Chinese characters on the phone” (Mahoney & Tang, 2017). To have such ease when trying to get a message out makes the app a dream application. There is also the fact that when news is being read on the application it doesn’t send the reader to an outside website the reader is linked directly to the URL within the app! Oh, how glorious that would be to have that function within the apps we currently use. Shannon Liao from The Verge says, “WeChat has 902 million daily users, and about 38 billion messages are sent on the platform every day. Last year, Tencent added mini-apps to WeChat, creating an app store of sorts: inside WeChat, you can play games, pay bills, find local hangouts, book doctor appointments, file police reports, hail taxis, hold video conferences, and access bank services. State-run media and government agencies also have official WeChat accounts, where they can directly communicate with users” (Liao, 2018). For instance, when I use Facebook a lot of the time the app will send me to the news website and completely take me out of Facebook. A true annoyance to be sure, because if I’m, using Facebook I want to use Facebook and not be redirected somewhere else.
It’s amazing that this one application has so many functions that are just helpful in everyday life. If this type of app came to America we would not need, Lyft, Uber, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, various news applications, banking apps and a whole lot more applications would become defunct. I honestly don’t see this happening here or perhaps anywhere else because that would most likely mean those other platforms would be out of business. There is also the fact that this app is a state-run application and as we know most of us don’t want the government in our business let alone in our applications. Tencent also pays attention to what their consumers want and need by adding campaigns that speak to those needs. One campaign in particular which had their users responding was their 2014 “Qiang Hongbao” campaign (Red Envelope), this campaign allowed for users to link their bank accounts to a Weixin account and send and receive virtual red envelopes. Mahoney and Tang say, “Red envelope is a traditional Chinese culture that includes a monetary gift that Chinese people give to their family and friends during holidays” (Mahoney & Tang, 2017).
China seriously has one app that rules their world and I find it fascinating. Ge Wang, Wei Zhang, and Runxi Zeng state, “In China specifically, socializing on WeChat has become an indispensable part of users’ everyday lives, and WeChat is the most important social media application for maintaining users’ online interpersonal relationships” (Wang, Zhang, & Zeng, 2019). What do you think? Would you like an app that did all those things this app can do? This application is part of China’s daily life because it involves all the things that they need to get through their day. Do you think such an application would be successful here in America? I’d like to think so, however as I stated before I think that other platforms would find some reason to not want it as it would interrupt our free enterprise.
Liao, S. (2018, February 01). How WeChat came to rule China. Retrieved December 07, 2019, from https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/1/16721230/wechat-china-app-mini-programs-messaging-electronic-id-system
Mahoney, L. M., & Tang, T. (2017). Strategic social media: From marketing to social change. Chichester, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.
Wang, G., Zhang, W., & Zeng, R. (2019). WeChat use intensity and social support: The moderating effect of motivators for wechat use. Computers in Human Behavior, 91, 244-251. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2018.10.010