WeChat Marketing

What is WeChat?

Known as the “Super App”, WeChat is the Chinese social platform that has many apps (similar to apps like ours in the US) all integrated into one major platform. It was developed in 2011 by Tencent originally as a mobile text and voice messaging service, but has developed into much more! The app is available on Android, iPhone and Windows. WeChat’s features include video chat, voice calling, SMS, money transfer, transportation services, games and QR codes — to name a few!

Three adults stand side by side looking at their phones

Who uses WeChat?

Currently there are over 1 billion Chinese monthly active users with 100 million of those users being outside of China. (To put that into perspective there are 2.3 million Facebook users worldwide) About half of the WeChat users are between 20–29 years old and spend at least 90 minutes daily on the app.

Yellow taxi cabs lined up at a stoplight in the city

What can WeChat do?

WeChat plays a vital role in daily life in China. With its vast capabilities, the app has been integrated into the daily tasks of its users. For example, It can now be used as a government form of ID and can be used as a form of payment at market places and many retailers.

Here’s a list of WeChat’s capabilities:

Kiosk scans QR code on phone

WeChat + QR Codes:

The presence of QR Codes can be seen throughout the WeChat app. QR Codes were favored in the US around 2010 but lost its popularity due to lack of technology development. China has continued to use and develop the use of QR Codes which can be seen throughout their Marketing. This popularity in QR code use is largely due to the fact that both Mandarin and Cantonese languages are difficult to read and understand — even for the locals. The QR code is appealing because the user is brought directly to the website without typing the url address. QR codes act as a replacement for printed marketing. Many people in the Chinese Market only carry a phone. The QR Code in China even replaces something as small and useful as a business card! This might just be the trendiest way to stay green in advertising!

Five adults standing side by side while looking at their phones

How does this affect the US and Marketing?

The use of QR Codes in the US has already seen a revival. The newest Apple iOS 11 update confirmed its importance, as the camera can now scan QR codes. You may have noticed that many food packages now have a QR code leading to more information due to a new GMO law requiring more information be provided to consumers. The QR code is able to give the user more information so that space on packaging is not compromised.

We have also seen the use of QR Codes throughout our top social media platforms in the U.S like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, where the user can exchange contact/account info by a simple scan. Places like Walmart and Target have started allowing QR scanning as a form of payment in some locations. Paypal also allows its users to make payment using a personal QR code associated with their bank account.

The popularity of QR Codes in the US will continue to grow in China’s footsteps. Marketers should utilize QR Codes, especially in print advertisements. Incorporating QR Codes in print will finally make it trackable and help businesses in bridging their digital customer experiences.

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