More than a simple app to exchange messages
In this article I’d like to tell you about WECHAT (in Chinese 微信-wei xin) and I will try to do it so that anyone, even those who are not Chinese social media experts, can realize how this application has an extremely significant impact on Chinese society and therefore also on consumers and how important, if not fundamental, to take them into consideration especially if one operates or intends to operate on the Chinese market.
The New York Times talks about how Western social media takes inspiration from Wechat.
But what is WECHAT? WECHAT is an "app", indeed a "super app", or rather the "Superman of the App", because with this application you can really do everything: share photos-video-posts, make purchases, book hotels, flights, train tickets, make payments, find restaurants, find the love of your life, work together, take a taxi, keep up to date, etc ... WECHAT contains all the utilities of our Facebook, WhatsApp, Amazon, credit card, Twitter , Uber, Tripadvisor, Booking, Tinder and much, much more.
But first of all, WECHAT is a very powerful sharing instrument. Through the communities Chinese consumers exchange information on what they buy, recommend and influence each other.
Wechat is controlled by the government and is itself a instrument for controlling the population.
Somebody may think that WECHAT is only used by a young people but here it is a big mistake
In China, a smartphone and its applications are now an integral part of society, in a different and much more impactful way than we do and in this regard I want to tell you an anecdote for example: during my last stay in Beijing after a few years of my absence I went to shopping in a huge supermarket.
Once I arrived at the cash desk I took out my cash and waited for the change.
The visibly agitated saleswoman looked at the cashier, but she did not find it (considering my banknote was more or less the equivalent of ten euros and the rest of 3.4 we were not talking about crazy figures), so she began to ask her colleagues (while as a good Italian I was getting weird to think they wanted to cheat me) and after a certain wait she finally brought it to me.
While a little annoyed I withdraw my change and start to leave, I noticed an old woman behind me.
She laid her shopping at the cash desk, took out her mobile phone and BIP… finished!
At the end,
WECHAT is not simply an app for mobile devices, but now it can be considered as an integral part of the new Chinese culture and not taking it into consideration when planning a business strategy towards this country means reducing (greatly) your opportunities of sales and brand awareness.