When One App Rules Them All: The Case of WeChat and Mobile in China

a16z
|

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

This post is all about we chat, but it's also about more than just we chat while seemingly just a messaging APP, which had his actually more of a portal, a platform, and even a mobile operating system depending how you look at it. Much has been written about. We had in the context of messaging APP, Trans but few outside of China really understand how it works, and how it can pull off what for many companies and countries still far off? Vision of a world managed entirely through our smartphones. Many of which most interesting features such as access to city services are not even visible to users outside of China. So why should people outside of China even care about we chat? The first and most obvious reason is that points to where facebook and other messaging APPs could head. Second we chat indicates where the future of mobile commerce may lie. Third we chat shows us what it's like to be both a platform and a mobile portal what Yahoo could have been. Ultimately however we chat should matter to all of us because it shows what's possible when an entire country which currently has a smartphone penetration of sixty two percent. That's almost one third of its population leapfrogs. Era Directly to mobile. We felt was not a product started as a website, and then was adapted for Mobile to paraphrase a certain movie. It was born into it molded by. Most notable, however for anyone in the tech business, we average revenue per user or are Pu, which is estimated to be at least seven dollars us. That's seven. The arpaio of what's up the largest messaging platform in the world. So. How did we chat do it the first some background? WHAT IS WE CHOP? Known in Chinese as wishing which translates to micro letter, which had his first and foremost, messing up for sending texts, voice, and photos to friends and family. It was launched by Chinese Investment Holding Company. tencent one of the largest Internet companies in the world. As of earlier this year we chat have five hundred, forty, nine million monthly active users may use among over one billion registered users. Almost all of them in Asia to put that in context, that's only a one hundred, fifty, million Mau's fewer than facebook messenger, almost three acts the use of Japan's line and Tannock's Emma use of curious cow, which tends then is also an investor. Downloading. The APP is free and we has only just begun to experiment with advertising revenue. So where then does it's ARP magically liar? Especially when one remembers the difficulty of monitoring other universal utilitarian services like email, the short answer is that it offers a lot more functionality. Along with basic communication features we chat users in China can access services to hail a taxi order food delivery. Buy movie tickets play casual. Games check in for a flight. Some money to friends access fitness tracker data book Doctor Appointment Kept Banking Statements. Pay The water bill find Geo targeted coupons recognize music search for a book at the local library. Meet strangers around you follow celebrity news read magazine Articles, and even donate to charity all in a single integrated APP. And we chats case chat. not other content streams or search box is the Universal Ui. And while this post is not focused on design, it's worth noting that Chinese APPS. Ten combine as features as possible into one application something. We kind of course a supra. This is in stark contrast to Western APPs which leans towards APP constellation. Number One how we chat works the APP within an APP model changes everything we think we know about web versus mobile. philosophically while facebook and WHATSAPP measure growth by the number of daily and monthly active users on their networks, we cares much more about how relevant and central each artist and addressing the daily, even hourly needs of its users. Instead of focusing on building the largest social network in the world, we has focused on building a mobile lifestyle. Its goals to address every aspect of its users lies including the non-social ones. The way it achieves this goal is through one of the most uncertain aspects of we check the pioneering model of APPs with an APP. Millions not not just thousands of lightweight APPs live inside. We chat much like web pages live on the Internet. This makes which have more like a browser for mobile websites or arguably a mobile operating system complete with its own proprietary APP store. Not What we'd expect from a messaging APP! The light we some we chat are called official accounts. Approved by which had after a brief application process thorough well over ten million of these official accounts on the platform, ranging from celebrities, banks, media, outlets, fashion brands to hospitals, drugstores, car, manufacturers, Internet, startups, personal blogs and more. It's important to emphasize that these official accounts are nothing like verify accounts on US social networks. We're being official is mainly just a badge of authenticity or identity verification. On we chat official accounts are approved to access exclusive API's for payments location, direct messages, voice messages user, ID's and more now, not every official count uses these API's, but there are still millions of them, indeed, our APP like

Coming up next