Wechat: the fastest growing SNS in the world?

This article is not from me. In Linkedin, i found it, wrote by a famous person in China. And i think it could help us to understand WeChat better. So i want to share it with you all.

Here is the link if you want to know more:



(Part of Chinese innovation series, to feature innovative people and products in China)

In less than two years, Tencent Wechat has over 200 million users.  This not only makes Wechat one of the fastest growing new software in the history of the Internet, it also gives Tencent an enviable position.

Wechat was created by Zhang Xiaolong (Allen Zhang), a low-profile veteran of the Chinese Internet.  Allen independently developed an email client Foxmail in 1996.  He has developed many products since, and also grew from a super developer into a super product manager.  He is now regarded as one of the finest product managers and innovators in China — much like Jack Dorsey or Marissa Mayer in the US.

Allen’s core product philosophy is: use extreme simplicity and fun to move the user.  He said “Internet products need to go beyond satisfying user need; they need to satisfy user desire.” He also said: “Form over function, when form is fun.”  Thus, while Wechat has some similarities with products like Whatsapp and Kik, it has many unique simple+fun functions: push-to-talk, shake-a-friend, floating bottle, group chat, etc.  Using these simple, easy-to-use, and fun features, Wechat has grown its user base at an unbelievable speed, and has become the defacto social graph of the Chinese mobile internet.

Is Wechat innovative?  It’s hard to call any of its features innovative.  But when integrated, it definitely offers an innovative and novel experience.  I walk around my company and see people talking to their phones pressed to their lips but not near their ears.  This is because they’re in the push-to-talk mode.  Wechat is changing the way people communicate in China.

Allen is also a practitioner of the “lean start-up”.  He has tried many innovative experiments: Can Wechat become an open platform?  Can Wechat connect with offline stores, realizing the O2O (Online2Offline)?  Can Wechat become the first Chinese product to become a hit outside China?  These experiments are showing promising results.  More and more developers are using the Wechat platform.  More and more offline stores and restaurants are connecting to Wechat.  And Wechat has risen on the top charts of Egypt, UAR, Vietnam, and many other countries.

One global entrepreneur told me that maybe Whatsapp (from US), Line (from Japan), and Wechat (from China) are headed for the first Internet global battle.  If that happens, my money is on Wechat.


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