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How and why Western brands are experimenting with WeChat

With almost 400m active users and a growing global audience, Tencent’s WeChat app is the new king of Chinese social media.

Often touted as the Chinese alternative to WhatsApp, WeChat actually offers a far broader range of features and tools.

Alongside text, video and voice messaging, users in China can make mobile payments, browse ecommerce stores, play games, or book a taxi. It even offers access to an online investment fund.

All this, coupled with the fact that the messaging app offers a veil of privacy cherished by young Chinese, makes it easy to see why WeChat has become central to its users’ lives.

Which in turn made it inevitable that marketers would seek to get in on the act, with official brand accounts first being made available around September 2012.