10 Awesome Features from WeChat That You Don’t Wanna Miss

WeChat, Tencent, Social Media in China, Mobile App, New PR

WeChat app in the world by value

What is WeChat?
Tencent’s WeChat is a mobile app that allows users to connect with friends across platforms. The download is totally free from iPhone App Store, Google Play, Windows 8 Store, Symbian, and BlackBerry. You might wonder, how big is WeChat? It is 300 million big in terms of the users number, according to TechAsia.

The similar dupe for WeChat in smartphone app market is a mobile messenger app called “Whatsapp.” However, WeChat has more features that allow users get to know more friends via “Drift Bottle,” “Shake”, and “Look Around.” I personally enjoy how the app allows me to customize my own Emoticons. Here is a simple listicle of WeChat’s features:

  1. Video Call.WeChat allows users to make face-to-face video calls by simply press “+” and select “video call” icon under the chat window. The process is just like dialing your contact in your cell phone’s contact book.
  2. Moments. Want to show some exciting pictures you took and share those memorable moments with your WeChat friends? The feature of Moments makes it all possible. You can also customize who can see yourpicture by visibility settings
  3. Voice Chat. I always enjoy the voice chat feature. It turns your smartphone into a walkie-talkie. You can use that feature under the chat window by simply switch “send message” into “hold to talk.” When you finish a sentence, simply release the “hold to talk” button to send your voice chat message.
  4. Web WeChat. This is a new feature for me. Before I did research on WeChat, I didn’t know it allows me to chat with friends between smartphone and computers. According to the description on official website of WeChat, you can “click on the magic wand icon at upper right and select ‘Web WeChat’” to start cross-platform chatting. To be honest, I never used this function before. I’ll have to explore it further to provide any deeper information other than official description.
  5. Emoticons. Customizable emoticon is one of my favorite features in WeChat. Besides a huge number of emoji collections that WeChat provides, users can also add their own emoticons by simply download from Website, or choosing you’re your own photo album.
  6. Group Chat. Opening your own group chat by select the wand button “start chat” and then choose your friends whom you want to join in the group chat. WeChat allows you to add 40 members at maximum in the group chat section.
  7. Shake. Want to get some new friends on WeChat but don’t know where to start? Shake your phone and see who are also shaking too at the moment locally and around the world. “Shake” is an interesting way to discover new users and corporate accounts by just few shake of your smartphone. It is also an awesome time killer. Just be very careful not to reveal any of your personal information to strangers.
  8. Look Around. “I am a newbie in WeChat, but I don’t want to use ‘Shake’ because I feel uncomfortable talking to people globally. I want some local friends just like What Badoo does.” That’s totally fine. Select “Look Around” under the “Social” tab to see who are nearby, and send your greetings by simply one click.
  9. Drift Bottle. We all know drift bottle is pretty cool. It allows us to meet with strangers yet remains a slightly sense of mystery. The only concerns are, who has time to buy a bottle, write a message down, seal it, travel to bayside and then throw it in the sea? WeChat simulate the whole process. You can “throw a bottle” into “the sea” with text message or voice message. Someone from anywhere in the world will pick it! The process is anonymous for both sides unless you decide to make friends with the owner of the drift bottle.
  10. Social Connect. As an app created in China, it’s really cool that Tencent has the vision to support the international social network giant – Facebook. WeChat also integrates the biggest social network in China – QQ (Of course, they belong to the same company!). I never use Facebook to log in my WeChat, because I use QQ number to log in my WeChat account.

As a PR pro, you might wonder: “OK, this sounds really cool but what can I do with it professionally?” I found a case study for you guys to look- Starbucks Gets More Social in China

My questions for you:

Based on those features, do you think WeChat will become popular globally?
What’s your biggest concern about using WeChat?
Do you think WeChat is a promising new way of doing PR?

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86 thoughts on “10 Awesome Features from WeChat That You Don’t Wanna Miss

  1. Hello Sheila. I haven’t heard of WeChat so thanks for giving a newbie like me an introduction to this mobile app.

    I read the Starbucks article and the following sentence reminded me of the video we watched in qualitative this week (Merchants of Cool): “…the appeal of the messaging app is that those users are very likely to be young, monied, and urban – and that’s the kind of Chinese consumer that everyone’s after.”

    I don’t know how many companies in America have attempted to use WeChat as a marketing tool. However, it would seem to me like this app provides access to the same kinds of “young, monied, and urban” individuals in America as it does in China. WeChat can give companies access to individuals who have a disposable income and are more than happy to spend said income.

    I’m not really sure what the “best practices” of using this app as a marketing tool would be but it certainly has potential. However, my primary concern is corporations/businesses having this kind of personal access to teens and young adults. I think there are, perhaps, some ethical boundaries that should be considered.

    • Hi Christina,

      Thanks for replying my post! In terms of how many companies in America have attempted to use WeChat as a marketing tool, I would have to say not a lot. But some of the companies are considered(at least by me) international companies, such as Starbucks, KFC, and probably K5 convenient store. They have big business in Chinese market. I saw lots of them using WeChat to target at younger audiences.

      I would like to know more about your ethical concerns.

  2. Hi Sheila,

    This post is awesome! Although I have been using WeChat for a long time, there are some interesting points I haven’t thought about. Thanks to your post, which makes me start thinking about it.

    Of course, I think it will become globally. Actually, I have already recommended it to some of my students from Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea, etc. in ESL Center. What attracts them the most is they can send voice message instead of tying. Honestly, people become lazier and busier now. Voice chat does help us save time in typing and relief us from being embarrassed to call.

    The English version is a great help for making it globally. Receiving the voice chat from my students in English made me feel it becomes globally! lol

    • Voice chat is really one of my favorite features in WeChat. It’s so convenient yet cost us almost nothing. I’ve tried a lot of similar apps in Android market. Most of them has integrated advertisement. WeChat is clean and simple to use.

  3. This is really an informative post. Beside the fact that it opens me up to a new social media I had no prior knowledge about, It also provides a general idea of the application interface. I am big on Whatsapp and I use it as a convenient way to keep in touch with my friends and family back in Nigeria. I am always keen to understanding how brands use these social media platforms, and Starbucks seems to be at the fore-front of almost every social media strategy. The coffee giant employs a plethora of social media platforms in connecting with its many audiences across the globe. A strategy that has successfully built loyal fans and brand ambassadors worldwide

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  5. like lots of peeps in Shanghai, I can’t escape WeChat. solid, innovative app that’s good for communicating with fam back home too. i’m not a fan of WhatsApp.

    obviously concerned about the keyword issues from singapore, blocked words, etc., though not enough to deter me from using it.

    http://www.techinasia.com/china-wechat-censoring-users-globally/

    best feature = the voice messages, which i guess is just like Nextel Chirp x That Indian voice message ting.

    so many peeps in shanghai use WeChat for nightlife promo/parties, etc. Some even sell 5,000-person WeChat blasts to promote events. WeChat QR codes errrrrwhere. “Add Us On WeChat,” etc. I don’t mess with it that hard but i guess it’s wayyyy bigger than Twitter here, naturally.

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  7. Plz help me out….i am new to wechat i have privacy concern regard profile picture on wechat…anyone can save our pic…
    If we use look around then public can also see n save our profile pic

    • You can reset your profile photo in “Settings”—> “My Profile”… And you can also set privacy in “Settings” too, just tap “privacy”—>”social”

      • I accidentally disabled my photo album and now when I try to add photos it says the app does not have access. I cannot find the option in Privacy settings to change. Help please!

    • Since it’s like a instant msg app (like short msg stuff)… you cannot see whether they are online or not… (I think so,but I never paid any attention on this detail, lol)

    • I have used wechat..and i got friends from another country through shake.but now it says needed a friend verification code to start chatting.what does that mean? And what should i do?

  8. I accidentally disabled my iphone photo album from wechat. It says I can enable access in Privacy Settings, but that option is not in Privacy Settings. Help please!

  9. i start usin wechat its realy awsome but now it take so long time to send and receive msg. I am using wifi and my mobile is HTC one x please help me out from this how can i solve this problem.
    Sandeep

    • Hi…hope you guys help me..I am not able to receive verification code.my number is correct. Network available..inbox is free.and also no response from we chat team.

      • I do not know which country are you from… Because it’s a Chinese app, you have to make sure your phone can receive msg from Chinese carrier. You can try to use google voice or skype in terms of those annoying phone verification stuff.

    • Yeah I wanna know about that too.. I changed my number recently so many of my friends don’t know my new number. so will they be able to know my new number? I saw for some contacts that they had added me on wechat too. will they be able to know my contact details?

      • I never attach my WeChat with my contact book… just in case someday I got bored with the app, I can just delete it without a second thought. 😀

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  11. hi! i registered on wechat using my phone number but no verification code was sent to my phone. i keep waiting for it but still no verification code comes. i even uninstall wechat then installed it again but the same problem occurs. please, what do i do? thanks

  12. I have same wechat account on phone and ipad. However, when i log in one, the other logged out automatically. It is really inconvenience.

  13. I m very exited about this ammazing app… I want to know how maney bottels can we pick in one day…. Thanks we chat group….

  14. Hmm it looks like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I
    guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any suggestions for inexperienced blog writers? I’d
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  15. Hi…hope you guys help me..I am not able to receive verification code.my number is correct. Network available..inbox is free.and also no response from we chat team.

  16. I have a question if I use wechat to do voice call over my wifi connection, does it cost extra charge on me on my cell provider ?

  17. Somthing interseted found today in wechat…u guys hav must try…whn u type MISS U and send to somone..some stars falling down..its really nice to see…go ahead..check out..

  18. I have Wechat on my iPhone so does my wife. However I need it on Windows 7 on my side (like I used to have MSN Messenger and Yahoo Chat). This is so I can have chats without getting the phone out all the time. There are hints everywhere that Wechat can work with Windows computers – but no hard evidence. wechat dot com/en/ – what is this, is is meant to be what I am looking for? There is nowhere on the web page to log in using my Windows computer.

    I am thinking of installing an Android emulator on my laptop and then running Wechat in Android – but in the Google Play store, there is no Wechat!

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  20. I almost never write remarks, but i did some searching and wound up here 10 Awesome
    Features from WeChat That You Don’t Wanna Miss | Chinese
    Social Media 101. And I actually do have some questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be only me or does it look like some of the comments look like left by brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are posting at additional places, I’d like to keep up with anything
    fresh you have to post. Would you make a list of all of your public sites like your
    Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

  21. how to send message to someone if someone reject your message? Then after some days if that person is sending you message but you are not able to send message to that persom.What to do in this case? How to reply that person cos that person has put you in rejection list!!!!!!!!!

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