WeChat’s most popular features and functions in 2017

WeChat, also known as Weixin in China, is China’s most popular mobile app and most popular social media app, with over 889 million active users and 10 million official accounts. WeChat users in China are very active on WeChat – 61% of users access WeChat more than 10 times per day, according to WeChat’s 2016 Impact Report.

But what makes this app so popular? In some ways, it is similar to Whatsapp, allowing users to send messages, videos, and images to one another. It is also similar to Facebook, allowing users to see each other’s updates and comment on them. In this article, we will cover WeChat’s most popular features and functions in 2017.

WeChat Pay

This feature was introduced in 2013, and the mobile app is now the most popular avenue for peer-to-peer payments in China. More than 200 million users in China have tied their bank cards to WeChat Pay. Many retailers overseas have also turned to accepting WeChat Pay in order to attract mainland Chinese tourists to their stores. Local examples include Charles and Keith, Lacoste Singapore, and TWG. This is because WeChat Pay allows the customer to pay in Renminbi, while the transaction is settled in the local currency. WeChat Pay accepts major currencies such as USD, GBP, JPY, AUD, EUR, KRW and HKD. There is no need to handle cash, or calculate currency conversion rates with WeChat Pay, as long as the user has added a credit card to his or her WeChat Wallet. The most common payment method is Quick Pay, whereby customers just have to show a QR code generated on the Quick Pay page to cashiers to settle payment.

WeChat Shake 

Shake is a feature that lets users connect with strangers around the world or corporate accounts. It can be found in the Discover tab. To activate the feature, users just have to click on it and start shaking their phones. If there is someone else who is also using the Shake feature, his or her profile will appear on the screen. However, if the user would like to chat with another stranger, the user can just shake his or her phone again. It is a great way to make new friends. Alternatively, offline retail businesses can also use the WeChat Shake function to interact with mobile users by sending personalized retail offers based on the user’s location. This works hand-in-hand with the iBeacon technology by Apple. Recently, MBS Singapore collaborated with FOMO Pay to launch a campaign using the WeChat Shake function, distributing coupons and/or freebies of more than 70 participating retail stores to target Chinese tourists. ION Singapore also carried out a similar campaign with FOMO Pay during China’s Golden Week.

WeChat Mini Programs

Early this year, WeChat rolled out mini programs, which are light programs that do not require users to download or install them. Users can open the application by scanning the QR code offline, through an Official Account, or searching for it. Once they are used, the mini programs will remain within a user’s WeChat unless he or she removes them – with a swipe. With over 938 million monthly active users on WeChat, this new feature increases the value WeChat offers to its users, allowing them to stay within the app for a longer period of time. This feature offers huge potential for various sectors, such as retail, fashion, beauty, and even, cross-border shopping. For example, DFS lets its customers shop through its mini program, pay via WeChat Pay, and later pick up their orders offline.

WeChat Moments

Users can access their Moments feed from the Discovery tab, where they can see photos and status updates from friends, comment on them, or share their own information. It is one of the methods in which businesses can gain followers on their WeChat Official Accounts.

WeChat Official Account

StarHub Singapore's WeChat Official Account

WeChat Official Account is a platform allowing companies to interact with their customers through WeChat. In a way, it is similar to how Facebook Pages work. It is available in the Chat tab on the mobile app. Through Official Accounts, businesses can interact with followers by sending them push notifications. Users can click open the notifications, and be redirected to the e-commerce website, or view more information through the bottom menu of each account. To search for a particular WeChat Official Account, users can use the search bar under contacts, or scan a QR code to be redirected to the specific Official Account. There are an estimated 10 million Official Accounts on WeChat currently.

About FOMO Pay Pte. Ltd

FOMO Pay is the first authorized WeChat Pay & Baidu Wallet partner in Southeast Asia, and was selected as one of the TOP 100 Asian Companies by E27, TOP 100 Startups by Red Herring Asia, and Top 8 by DBS’ FinTech Accelerator Program. FOMO Pay provides a one-stop solution for local merchants by facilitating payment collection from the China market, including Chinese tourists. This comprises of online/offline Chinese payment modes, such as WeChat Pay, Alipay and Union Pay. FOMO Pay’s business solution serves clients from a wide range of industries, including the telecom, publishing, tourism and hospitality, F&B, education and retail industries.