WeChat has created, during the last 7 years, a vast ecosystem putting this mega messaging application at the center of mobile internet in China today. With more than 200,000 third-party developers, more than 10 million of official accounts and 889 million MAU (Monthly Active Users), WeChat remains the most used application in China.
WeChat evolves through innovation. According to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), WeChat directly fueled the consumption of information of 174.25 billion RMB in 2016 with an annual evolution rate of 26.2%, representing 4.54% of the total consumption of information in China in 2016.
From closed friendship circles to a wider social dimension:
WeChat has contributed to the increase of contacts of its users between 2014 and 2016. 45% of users say they have more than 200 WeChat contacts mostly colleagues(57,22%), friends and family members (21%), then there are the groups and video games members (10%) and finally the service providers (8.9%).
WeChat’s users prefer also to share “WeChat Moments” in the private sphere of application. These same users like to see personal content such as opinions on different subjects. On the other hand, 33% of users publish professional content while only 23% of users are interested in these types of publications.
Professionals and individuals are using WeChat:
Today 80% of users perform professional tasks on WeChat and 70% of the self-employed go through WeChat for their transactions.
Chinese citizens are more accustomed to using WeChat during their work for tasks such as coordination, files transfer, meetings and videoconferences, marketing or transactions.
WeChat is more widely used than email for business communications. 90% of users consider WeChat as a tool of communication because of its speed and its immediacy.
WeChat and the social-marketing :
As part of the implementation of an Office Automation Platform, WeChat launched business accounts in 2014 and later “WeChat for Work”, as a professional App in 2016. Despite this, 80.9% of the users are using WeChat for communication and social marketing reasons.
From a chat App to the integration of various business channels:
Mobile payments are increasingly used in China, particularly for retail purchases. 94,1% of the users of the first tier cities pay via their mobile phones.
In 2015, 65% of users spent less than 500 RMB per month, whereas in 2016 it’s less than 40%. Users who have spent between 500 and 5000 RMB per month are increasing and 10% have spent more than 5000 RMB per month. This makes WeChat Pay the number 1 payment method.
Mini-programs are also used on WeChat. More than half of users have either used a mini-program for their specific needs or have accessed a mini-program shared by friends WeChat.
Opportunities and challenges for WeChat ecosystem:
1/ Precise targeting and the Super Network:
- Opportunity: The network of WeChat users is an evolution from the close contact to the professional circles. Information overload will push users to claim a specific and targeted information distribution. Under these circumstances, based on algorithms, marketing will be more effective.
- Challenges: From 2016, the number of WeChat users had exceeded the number of fake accounts of 150 contacts. The efficiency and the self cleaning of WeChat may endorse its dissolution in the Super Network information flow.
2/ The convergence of modules and independent professional networks:
- Opportunity: 70.8% of individuals have used WeChat for transactions. Professional communications via WeChat are more used than phone calls, text messages and emails. The social network of WeChat will be the preferred tool of professional organizations.
- Challenges: Redundancy of information remains the challenge number 1 with regarding to the information provided on WeChat.
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