Let’s Chat, WeChat

WeChat is most popular social media platforms in China. People engage with this platforms to communicate, share and entertain. With the advent of smart phone, the market requires more applications to satisfy the smartphone function in the smart way. The smartphone has an independent operating system and independent operating space, hence, users need to install software, games, navigation and other programs provided by third-party service providers. The traditional mode of information transmission is no longer suitable for smartphones, at that time, the emergence of WeChat made communication between smartphone users more convenient and more vivid.There are three sections in this essay. In the first part, the origins of WeChat and how this application operate will be stated. The second part is about the key businesses and how the internet innovation effect media industry and information management. Finally, the last section will examine who gains benefit from the innovations and some critical analysis from the internet and technological transformation.

What is WeChat?

Figure 1: source from: https://www.scmp.com/abacus/news-bites/article/3047763/wechat-now-lets-you-report-information-wuhan-coronavirus
Figure 1: source from: https://www.scmp.com/abacus/news-bites/article/3047763/wechat-now-lets-you-report-information-wuhan-coronavirus

WeChat is a mobile phone social communication software, which is invented by Tencent. This application supports sending voice messages, videos, pictures and texts, and can create chat groups of more than three people. It starts as the message app, like WhatsApp and Facetime. With the technology and financial support, the functions of WeChat have been improved, it is not satisfied just to help people send message to family and friends (Atkinson, 2018). WeChat put effort on many industries which help people to make lifestyle easier with the cyber technologies. WeChat provide functions such as public platform, sharing moment and news push to improve the users and the platforms stickiness. In order to meet the demands of users, WeChat also cooperates with third-party application platforms to provide more accurate service to users, for example, book a taxi, food delivery or restaurant reservation.

WeChat fund by Tencent, which is one of the largest Internet integrated service providers in China. Actually, before WeChat appeared, Tencent has another popular messaging application, called QQ. But this application mainly focused on young generation, the functions were same as WeChat at the first time. It is noticeable that QQ had 200 million user accounts which became the world’s largest internet community in 2009. At the same time, Tencent also invested online games, the Honor of King and League of Legend are the most successful online games in the markets. Based on the huge number of users and good credit, WeChat can hit one billion monthly users (Atkinson, 2018). By now, WeChat has become a necessity of people’s lives.

 

The key business models and the influence

 

Figure 2: source from: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-43283690
Figure 2: source from: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-43283690

It is hard to see the way people spend with cash in China, most of them use the WeChat pay. Users can complete the fast payment process through the mobile phones. WeChat Pay is based on fast payment by binding bank cards to provide users with safe, fast and efficient payment services. The method of payment almost covered all fields, from shopping in the supermarket to bank transfer, WeChat pay can help to solve. Due to the fast and convenient payment process, more than 300,000 offline stores use the WeChat pay in 2016. The innovative features facilitate users’ transactions and improved the efficiency. Mobile payment will definitely enter the social media trend (Read, 2017). Sometimes, WeChat pay is not only a payment app, it is a way to socialize with different people. In the transaction process, people could have an emotional communication with the merchant. WeChat pay brings solutions to traditional industries to help traditional industries transform. Online shopping is a new way to shop and boost economy, it not only changed the traditional business model, but also stimulated the online payment, especially, WeChat pay. WeChat pay encouraged many traditional industries selling the products through internet, and cooperate with the online shopping platforms to use WeChat payment method. Moreover, the influence of this payment method still widespread, people found WeChat pay can use in many countries not just in mainland China. WeChat Pay is officially connected to Istanbul Airport in Turkey in this year. At present, the number of countries and regions with compliant access to WeChat Pay has increased to 64, supporting settlement in 24 different currencies.

Moreover, sharing economy is another core conception in WeChat business model. Sharing economy shift the economic power to data or digital capitalism (John, 2018). Due to the demands of customers and the rise of various sharing platforms like Uber and Airbnb, WeChat provides the platforms to connect with the sharing platforms, because WeChat holds more than 1 billion user’s database. Hence, most sharing platforms need this opportunity to collect more potential customers. However, the cooperation brings the controversial issue. When WeChat sharing the users’ information with third party, users has the asymmetrical power relations with the social media platforms (John, 2018). The users’ database is sharing or selling, it is difficult to recognize. Facebook has experienced the 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach. But, sharing economy has become a mainstream in the modern society, People are used to share the experience, lifestyle and knowledge through the internet. The sharing economy will become the most important force in the social service industry. The important evidence is the WeChat healthy code during the coronavirus. During the epidemic, many regions are also successively arranging necessary resumption of work and production because of the WeChat healthy code.       Due to the huge number of users, Tencent announced the “Health Code Standard” launched in cooperation with the National Information Center. The health code has different color, and each color represent different situation, for example, Green code means everything is normal, and the code can be used at any time, yellow code means the 7-day quarantine is being implemented, and if the health check-in card is normal for 7 consecutive days, it will turn to a green code, and Red code represents the 14-day quarantine, and the healthy check-in for 14 consecutive days has been turned into a green code. Based on the healthy code, people can clearly know the report of the epidemic and reduce the risk of infection. The geen code is listed below:

Figure 3:source from own screen shot
Figure 3:source from own screen shot

Who gains the benefits

WeChat is the successful social media application, which rely on users’ support and the advanced functions. Due to the recommendation and the good credit, WeChat could be an international social media application to provide the platforms for people who want to communicate and share. And the relevant functions inspired many other industries, especially the WeChat pay. The method of payment started a cashless society, at the same time, it also stimulate the circulation of RMB in the currency market, because many countries accept the WeChat pay. Hence, users can gain convenience from this payment method, the government gains the currency in the market, Tencent also gains the cash flow and some potential users. Culture is another sections of the benefits. Tencent is not just a social media corporation, it also invested online games, as the products, if WeChat can attract more users, Tencent’s other relevant products are more likely to be known. The profit would be higher. 

Summary

 

Overall, WeChat is typical social media application which influenced people’s life in many fields. And the functions of this application are innovative and helpful, which lead many people rely on this application. WeChat introduced the payment method and the powerful database in the sharing economy, which inspired many industries and change the traditional business model.

 

Reference list:

Abbate, J. (2017). What and where is the internet? (Re)defining internet histories. Internet Histories, 1(1–2), 8–14.

 

Atkinson, S. (2018, March 6). WeChat hits one billion monthly users – are you one of them? Retrieved from: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-43283690

 

Borak, M. (2020, January 27). WeChat now lets you report information on the Wuhan coronavirus. Rerieved from: https://www.scmp.com/abacus/news-bites/article/3047763/wechat-now-lets-you-report-information-wuhan-coronavirus

 

Cadwallader, C., & Graham-Harrison, E. (2018, March 18). Revealed: 50 million facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach. Retrieved 20 July 2018, from The Guardian website: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/17/cambridge-analytica-facebook-influence-us-election

 

Gillespie, T. (2018). All platforms moderate. In Custodians of the internet: platforms, content moderation, and the hidden decisions that shape social media (pp. 1–23). New Haven: Yale University Press.

 

Jarrett, K. (2014). A database of intention. In Society of the query reader: Reflections on web search (pp. 16–29). Amsterdam: Institute of networked cultures.

 

John, N. A. (2018). Sharing Economies. In The age of sharing (pp. 69–97). Polity.

 

Read, S. (2017, December 8). Chat and pay: How social media is beating the banks. Retrieved from: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-42237432

 

 

 

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About Qinling Du 3 Articles
Hi, everyone! My name is Qinling, a Chinese girl who major in digital culture.