Transforming a messaging app into a powerful multipurpose platform leading to enhanced customer engagement
- WeChat¹ is an instant text and voice messaging communication service developed by Tencent in China in 2011; Bloomberg estimate its value at $83.6 billion.
- WeChat has over 600 million monthly active users, with 570 million people logging onto WeChat on a daily basis.
- Barclays forecasted that WeChat earned an estimated 6.8 billion yuan ($1.2 billion) in 2014 and is set to grow to 9.6 billion yuan in 2015. Tencent posted revenues of 23.4 billion yuan ($3.5 billion) in 2015.
- WeChat is a comprehensive platform spanning media sharing, messaging, gaming and payments, a depth of engagement that most other apps cannot match.
- 60% of the users of WeChat are between the ages of 15-29 years old and have an average of 128 friends in the app.
- There are fewer alternatives and competitor services for customers to use as a result of regulations in China, WeChat’s main market.
- WeChat’s average revenue per user (APRU) is estimated to be at least $7, seven times the ARPU of WhatsApp.
- Customers can do their banking through the app, more than two out of five WeChat users have used their mobile to make a payment or transfer money.
- Users can purchase goods on the app, for example during a sale held exclusively on WeChat; Xiaomi, a large Chinese smartphone maker, is said to have sold 150,000 of its latest model in under 10 minutes.
- One reason behind the success of WeChat is due to it integrating user’s address books from Tencent’s QQ, an older instant-messaging service that has over 800 million registered users.
- WeChat created a pioneering model of “apps within an app”; thousands of lightweight apps live inside WeChat, much like webpages live on the Internet.
- The lightweight apps on WeChat are called “official accounts”; approved by WeChat after a brief application process, there are well over 10 million of these official accounts on the platform.
WeChat is one of more than 100 case studies identified as part of the World Economic Forum’s Digital Transformation of Industries initiative. An overview of the DTI program can be found here.
1. Sources: WeChat, Bloomberg, Andreessen Horowitz, WEF/Accenture Analysis