What is WeChat and how it works in China in 2024


Let's imagine we are in the middle of preparing for our trip to China, in a notebook we have written a list of the essential things to pack. Everything is ready, only one thing is missing: download the WeChat app on our smartphone.

But what is WeChat and how does it work? The most popular messaging app in China and with over a billion users worldwide is much more than just an app: published in 2011 by the Chinese technology company Tencent Holdings Limited, WeChat is a real lifestyle for all its users.

Also known as Weixin 微 信, WeChat packs many different functions into a single easy-to-use app and it is precisely the multi-functional nature of this platform that has made it successful.

Over the years, this app has integrated a whole series of services and tools that make it one of a kind. Features typical of social networks and e-commerce have been gradually added, making WeChat an exception in the world.

But what are the functions that make it so interesting? Let's find out together.

Wide variety of features and services

WeChat functions to export brands to China

Born as a simple messaging app, WeChat has turned into a platform that allows its users to perform multiple functions.

Among these, the possibility of sending voice messages to one's contacts, making calls and video calls with friends and family, exchanging multimedia contents and sharing one's geographical position.

So far you are wondering: "What is different from the most famous WhatsApp?" … well, WeChat offers much more things.

Through this app it is possible to do everything, from payments to money transfers via the WeChat Pay function, from purchasing airline tickets to booking a hotel room, from renting bicycles to booking a taxi, from shopping online to ordering take-out food.

In addition to this, it is also possible to book a Covid-19 test (source HKFP) and access government services, such as applying for a visa.

In short, WeChat is an indispensable tool for living and traveling to China, but above all for working in and with China. If you want to enter the chinese market, this tool is for you!

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But why is WeChat so important for the Italian companies that want to open up to the Chinese market?

Why should Italian businesses use WeChat?

If your goal is to enter the Chinese market or reach Chinese tourists, who are considered to be among the largest consumers in the world, the most effective strategy to adopt is to use this multifunctional app.

Chinese people do not have access to social media such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but they cannot live without WeChat.

Unlike other social media platforms that may only be part of your marketing strategy, WeChat is the strategy to increase your brand awareness and connect with Chinese customers.

What are the 3 reasons to use Wechat?

There are several reasons why you can't ignore this app if you want to succeed in your business in China.

With its many users active every day (70 million of which live outside China), WeChat can allow you to reach a huge audience. In fact, the Asian giant's app has also reached countries outside Asia and is available in more than 20 languages, a number that is expected to grow further;

WeChat profile live streaming commerce, KOL and Max Mara fashion shows

WeChat is a real lifestyle for its users, because it contains all the features of the other social tools in a single and simple app, which is why it is wrong to compare it to WhatsApp or Facebook.

WeChat is present in every aspect of the life of its users and this allows entrepreneurs to penetrate the world of consumers and address them with personalized communication;

WeChat is an ever-changing app and always offers many functions to connect brands to its customers. One example is its Shake function, which allows businesses to interact with users who are nearby.

This function invites you to literally shake your phone and by doing so, the person is put in contact with someone who is performing the same action at the same time.

Even businesses can use this feature, like the big luxury brand Burberry did in the past, to reach more and more customers.

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The official WeChat account and its 3 different types

The official WeChat account, which could be compared for example to an official Facebook or Instagram page, is a type of special account that companies or even individuals can open and, through it, send updates to all contacts who follow the account.

You can choose among three different types of official WeChat accounts:

  • Subscription account
  • Service account
  • WeChat Work (Enterprise Account)

Chosing which account is right for you depends a lot on what your business plans are, but keep in mind that foreign companies, which are not registered in China, can only have one Service Account.

While the last of the three types consists of an internal company messaging, the first two accounts, even if in a different way, allow you to connect with customers.

Once users start following your account, you can send them push notifications and provide them with useful information about your brand.

You can also direct your followers to your e-commerce site, or, once you have created your official WeChat Account, you can install your WeChat store, offered on the social platform, to integrate your e-commerce.

To understand which account is best for you, let's see them in more detail.

Subscription Account

Selling in China WeChat fashion clothing made in Italy Max Mara

The Subscription Account allows you to send your followers one post a day. However, these posts go to the user's subscription folder and users do not receive notifications. Your content will not appear in the chat list and, to view it, your followers will have to open the folder.

This type of account is popular with bloggers, writers, celebrities and among brands that focus on communication and information.

Subscription accounts are only available to companies with a Chinese ID or Chinese business license.

Service account

With a Service account, you can create posts and your followers will see your content at the top of their chat, along with other posts and messages sent by their contacts. However, in order to impose limits and prevent the user from receiving spam content, brands with this type of account can only create 4 posts per month.

This type of account is suitable for those who want to offer great customer service or even those businesses that want to have a sales-oriented presence on WeChat. Users with a Service Account can also use the WeChat Pay and WeChat Store features.

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The service account can also be used by companies that are not registered in China, and it is especially suitable for companies with large customers, such as banks, airlines and hotels.

Mini programs

Also known as WeChat Application Account, WeChat mini programs is a function launched by Tencent in 2017. We are talking about sub-applications of the WeChat ecosystem, which work just like an app, with the difference that they are developed within the system of WeChat and do not need to be downloaded.

In this way, users will not occupy the memory of their smartphone, thanks to the possibility of accessing these apps by simply scanning the QR code and exiting the application whenever they want.

Mini Programs are a marketing tool to support entrepreneurs, who, thanks to this function, do not have to constantly create content, and to support users who can get the information they need without having to follow an account or receive too many messages.

For businesses that want to easily develop their own app, this type of account is best suited. Furthermore, to have the best result in terms of marketing, it is advisable to integrate the Mini Programs with another of the official WeChat accounts.

How WeChat works to sell in China

How to make the most of WeChat?

As we have seen, WeChat is a fundamental tool for entering the Chinese market and for attracting new customers, but to be successful you have to make the right moves. Often the solution to this is to rely on experts who can guide you in finding the most effective strategies to win a place in the Chinese market.

For this reason, to have a good success in China, tools like Noziroh Hub are essential for companies that are entering the Chinese market for the first time and want to sell their products in China and be accompanied on this journey.

Relying on professionals like Noziroh Hub, who know the purchasing habits of Chinese consumers and with whom it is possible to manage all the marketing phases by relying on a single reference: market research, opening / management of stores in the main e-commerce platforms goods storage, order fulfillment, opening / management of Chinese social profiles, packaging and private labels, is essential to be successful in the chinese market.

To talk to an expert on how to use WeChat to position your products in China, you can book a free consultation by clicking here.

Autor: Paola Golino

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