Tencent Guangzhou Research and Project center started developing a messenger app back in 2010. A year later, Ma Huateng named the app as Weixin and launched it. Within a year, it gained 100 million users, encouraging it to launch it in international market with a new brand called WeChat.
By the first quarter of 2019, the app has recorded more than 1 billion monthly active users. It is a 6,9 percent year-on-year growth compared to the same period last year. Even though the competition is tight in the industry.
No wonder, WeChat excels at its various services which made them a super app. Starting from only basic messaging services, it grew up larger.
The first features are actually look quite alike Korean and Japanese chatting app, KakaoTalk and Line. It has stickers called Tuzki that resembles those of Line stickers. Then it also opened paid official accounts for brands to make personal ads to users, a feature that first available in Kakaotalk.
Just like Kakao Pay and Line Pay, WeChat also added a payment feature inits app. But the Tencent-backed app took it to another notch. In 2014 Chinese New Year, it launched a new feature called HongBao or the Red Envelopes.
As we know, Chinese give out money to their younger relatives in the Chinese New Year. They give it inside a red envelope that means a good fortune. WeChat made it available within its app. And there were 16 million Hongbao transaction in the first 24 hours of it launch.
Tighter competition for WeChat
Not enough with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, Mark Zuckenberg stated that he wants to build WeChat for the West. The app will revolve around turning social network messaging services to something similar with the Chinese super app. Zuckenberg succeed, he might as well blocking the Chinese app to expand to western market.
ByteDance also announced similar thing. The company behind Tik Tok has also launched a new social app. Feliliao, as it called, is the second attempt of ByteDance to challenge WeChat. Previously, it failed rather miserably with Duoshan.