Evolved from an instant messaging app to a super app integrated with over 7 million mini-apps, WeChat is now indispensable to its 1.1 billion daily active users as well as a powerful tool that can take your business in China to the next level.
What makes WeChat an important link in your business framework and marketing strategy?
Here are some mind-blowing statistics to demonstrate just how essential WeChat is to Chinese people’s daily lives:
Aside from communication and social functions, WeChat also serves as a news source, a shopping platform, an encyclopedia, a search engine, a live-streaming platform, and an app store with over seven million apps.
Not only does no other app come close to matching WeChat in terms of its user base in China, but WeChat also now provides a mature and robust ecosystem for businesses where you can effectively craft your brand’s image, educate your buyers, promote your products, and accept payments. So what are the most effective tools at your disposal?
An Official Account is a WeChat Account created and verified by an enterprise. It’s a great way to establish and build credibility for your brand because appearing in searches with an official account reassures users of the authenticity of your company or brand.
WeChat allows you to engage with readers by posting articles, pictures, videos, and other media in your account and redirecting them to your main product or service page via embedded links, integrated mini-programs, or mobile websites. Depending on your account type and business scope, followers may receive notifications regarding new updates, service status, and customer support requests.
Don’t underestimate the power of a popular article post if you’re a content marketer. The article can easily receive thousands of views if it is shared in moments or group chats. While achieving branding objectives, it can also open up new monetization avenues, such as influencer marketing.
WeChat acts as an app store for Mini-Programs, which are apps that operate within WeChat. As of January 2022, there were over seven million Mini-Programs. They can be accessed via links, Official Accounts, QR code scans, and search results, and can be linked to verified Official Accounts to increase credibility.
You may question the user experience of a WeChat Mini App because it isn’t a standalone app, but the reality is that WeChat Mini Programs provide the best user experience because they are designed and customized for the WeChat system. Users can use the Mini Programs to place takeout orders, register for events, shop for cosmetics, pay parking bills, and so on without ever leaving WeChat. With a single click, popular products or services can be easily shared with contacts or group chats.
WeChat Mini Programs aren’t just popular among users and a threat to traditional apps. Its short development cycle, one version that works on both Android and iOS devices, and the straightforward launch on WeChat rather than a dozen third-party app stores make it a cost-effective option for developers. There are now over three million WeChat Mini Program developers in China compared to around two million for Android apps.
WeChat stores were designed specifically for e-commerce businesses. While less seamless in integration and user experience with out-of-date UI compared to online stores hosted in Mini Programs, they do offer simple templates that allow small businesses to set up an online presence in under 30 minutes.
What happens when you combine WeChat and Douyin (Chinese Tiktok)? The answer is WeChat Channels. Everything you can do on Douyin, you can do on WeChat Channels, while leveraging each user’s social connections to improve targeting and advertising efficiency. Friends’ content can easily be pushed to the top of daily feeds and popular recommendations of first-level connections. Links to product or service pages can be included in the description of short videos or displayed live during streaming. Product demonstrations, tutorials, and comparisons are popular methods for engaging the audience and encouraging purchases.
WeChat is available to individuals and businesses worldwide for free. However, if your customers are in China, you should really register with a Chinese entity because Weixin for China has servers in China and WeChat Global has servers in Canada. As a result, users in China are unable to find accounts registered under foreign entities or view any of the content posted by these accounts.
WeChat, like an app store, conducts its own compliance check for all content and services provided by all accounts. Articles posted through Official Accounts and videos posted on Channels will be subject to content review, whereas Mini Programs will require various licenses, filings, and certificates in order to be launched, ranging from the ICP (Internet Content Provider) Filing to industry-specific licenses such as the B21 EDI License for e-commerce businesses.
WeChat Pay can be easily integrated with Official Accounts (depending on your account type), Mini Programs, and mobile websites. This can be set up with a business license, required industry licenses, a corporate bank account, and real-name verification. Companies without a legal presence in China, on the other hand, may be limited in their business scope and cross-border payments, so it is commonly recommended to partner with a local company that can assist in obtaining the necessary licenses.
AppInChina provides services to assist with all of the tools listed above. Since 2013, we have been assisting international companies in expanding into the Chinese market and providing digital solutions to help them accomplish their goals. With a multinational English-speaking team based in Beijing, we’re well-positioned to assist you in establishing your WeChat presence and delivering the best results possible. Contact us today for a tailor-made solution.