WeChat was launched in 2011 as Weixin – Mandarin for ‘micro-message’. As the name suggests, it originally functioned as a simple messenger app – a Chinese equivalent to WhatsApp in essence. It has since transformed to a platform that connects to everything else.
A few things you can do with WeChat includes: social sharing, booking a taxi, order food delivery, order laundry delivery, order cleaning ladies, unlock a sharing bike, reading news, play games, video editing and paying for groceries and other bills… anything you can possibly think of, you can do it with WeChat.
WeChat is the most popular platform for Chinese to communicate with others in China.
Below are key functions of WeChat:
One of the primary uses of WeChat is messaging. Just like WhatsApp, you have a list of conversations that you’re engaged in. You can add people in a variety of ways. When people exchange contact details in China, you often see one person scanning the other person’s phone. Each WeChat user has a unique QR code. One person can scan the other user’s QR code to add them to WeChat. You can also use a phone number or ID to add a person and search for people nearby.
WeChat is one of the main ways people communicate in China. Even when doing business, people prefer WeChat to email. It’s even more prevalent because services like Facebook are blocked in China. There is also a social feature called “Moments.” Users can upload a number of images or videos and their friends can comment or like the post.
From major supermarkets to the smallest of street vendors and taxis, you can pay for things with WeChat almost anywhere in China.
As long as you have a Chinese bank account, you can link that to WeChat. There are two ways to pay for something via the app. Firstly, the store can scan your unique WeChat barcode.
If you’re buying something online in China, there will be an option to purchase with WeChat Pay. You will need to put in a passcode or use a biometric authentication tool to authorize the transaction. Instant money transfers to your WeChat contacts can also be made via the messaging function, which makes it easy to split bills or just move money around China. It is possible to be nearly cashless in China and actually go out for the day without a wallet.