View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. What Is
July 25, 2016updated 16 Feb 2017 3:05pm

What is WeChat?

Starting life in 2010, the messaging app WeChat has had its fair share of controversy with censorship, privacy and jail terms.

By James Nunns

WeChat is a mobile text and voice messaging service developed by Tencent in China.

The app is one of the most popular downloads and is one of the largest standalone messaging apps by monthly active users.

First released in January 2011 it has over 600 million active users in August 2015, only 100 million of which were outside of China.

To put that into context that is only 100 million less users than Facebook Messenger. This increased even further in 2016, with the messaging service boasting 864 million active users.

The app is available across multiple platforms such as Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone while web based clients on Windows and OS X also exist.

WeChat boasts many features, although the most popular is its instant messaging service. Users can send text messages, voice messages and stickers to other users. The sending of saved or live pictures, as well as coupons and videos is possible in either an individual or group chat.

Another feature is WeChat Pay, a digital wallet which allows users to pay with their mobile device and send money to contacts. In China, users can pay bills, transfer money and pay in stores. In 2014, WeChat created a feature which distributed red virtual envelopes to coincide with Chinese New Year. Traditionally, people give each other money gifts in a red envelope during the holidays, with WeChat seizing upon this tradition and taking it virtual.

Content from our partners
Why food manufacturers must pursue greater visibility and agility
How to define an empowered chief data officer
Financial management can be onerous for CFOs, but new tech is helping lighten the load

 

Who was jailed for three years after expressing concerns about WeChat?

Websites in our network
Select and enter your corporate email address Tech Monitor's research, insight and analysis examines the frontiers of digital transformation to help tech leaders navigate the future. Our Changelog newsletter delivers our best work to your inbox every week.
  • CIO
  • CTO
  • CISO
  • CSO
  • CFO
  • CDO
  • CEO
  • Architect Founder
  • MD
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.
THANK YOU