When WeChat first came out in 2011, the US and European markets were already getting close to saturation with other instant messaging apps, especially WhatsApp. So while WeChat has been gaining traction slowly in these countries, in other parts of the world it has caught on like wildfire and shows no signs of stopping. In all of China’s major cities (population 10 million or more), 90% of people are registered with WeChat. Being that the app is based in China, created by the company TenCent, it makes sense that its highest usage rates would be at home. But you might be shocked to learn some of the crazy ways WeChat is being used in China and other countries. Read on to learn more about how WeChat can be so much more than stickers and instant messages.
In China, WeChat is used for cashless payment in stores
Granted, not all stores accept WeChat payment yet, but the number of businesses that will take an electronic, 100% cashless payment via WeChat is growing every day. Some businesses even have public WeChat accounts and sell things directly through the WeChat app.
What’s more, people in China can pay their utility bills using WeChat, reload prepaid phone plans, and send money between friends. Aside from being a useful way to pay your friend back for lunch, it’s also closely in touch with Chinese culture. For Chinese New Year, it is traditional to send red envelopes with “lucky money” to friends and family to bring prosperity in the coming year. The Chinese version of WeChat has a Lucky Envelope feature that lets people pick a total amount of money to send to select contacts, and the app will send random amounts to those people. Pretty neat!
In China, all you need to get a taxi is WeChat
You can not only hail a taxi directly from WeChat, you can also track the driver and pay for your trip! This also works with hired cars from the Chinese startup company Didi Kuaidi. Even though they have their own application, you can manage everything without ever leaving WeChat.
In South Africa, WeChat is helping people find jobs
This is a really great example of WeChat investing to make the world a better place. WeChat has already invested in a South African startup company called M4JAM (“money for jam”) which operates exclusively through WeChat to help users find local micro-jobs. WeChat has pledged to invest even more money in startups in South Africa and Nigeria, helping the local communities while also taking advantage of the growing number of smartphone users in that region.
In Hong Kong, WeChat raises donations for UNICEF
A partnership between UNICEF Hong Kong and WeChat is raising money that will help people in the direst of situations around the world. From the Syria crisis to the Nepal earthquake and other global crises, WeChat is getting the younger generations involved with charitable giving in a way that resonates with them. Donations to charities through WeChat are facilitated by the application’s powerful and secure payment platform, making it more convenient than ever for residents of Hong Kong and other countries to get involved and help their fellow man.