At the end of 2013 Wechat reached 600 million users, 150 million were situated outside of mainland China. In the second quarter of 2014 WeChat even reached 438 million monthly active users, as to know 42 million users more than the previous quarter.
But WeChat is much more present on the leisure side than on the corporate side.
A new market
A great part of Chinese know how to use WeChat but usually in a much more personal way, they use it to chat with friends, follow the news of the accounts they are subscribed to…
A few years ago business social networks started to appear on the Chinese market, such as Dajie.com, Wealink.com, Renhe.cn, Tianji.com and Ushi.com. The users of these networks went from only 3.7 million in 2008 to 31 million in 2013, according to iResearch.
As this new type of market flourishes it also brings new kind of competitors, that are gaining more and more market shares, WeChat therefore decided to react and add features designed for professionals to its services.
The new features will include sub-groups for business units, which will be able to have up to 1000 employees. Companies will also have the possibility to upload different type of files such as audio, video, image, and document files. WeChat will guarantee an access to the files for the employees for at least three days.
Wechat business solution’s development raised some critics in China. Some were saying that Chinese business social networks were just copying Yammer, the American leading micro-blogging tool designed for businesses. A company that only had 1,6 million users in 2010. It was then bought by Microsoft in 2012 for 1.2 billion dollars before reaching 8 million users last year.
Some were worried about the information security issue. Indeed once given to WeChat, the network has full access to it. This might restrain companies to use WeChat’s new business features.
Others said that WeChat didn’t care enough about businesses’ needs, because the company was just offering basic services to them.
WeChat is offering businesses new features to enable them to manage employees directly onto their WeChat group. But businesses want more innovative solutions and are demanding features tailored to Chinese companies.
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