Nowadays, the social media platform WeChat has become extremely popular amongst a vast amount of China’s population. The Tencent Holdings owned messaging app allows users to not only talk to friends, but to discover the latest news, to shop online, to pay bills, play games and more. On the other hand, the western consumer accesses these functions through different and separate social media platforms.
There are an estimated 570 million active monthly users on WeChat, which is around 83% of the entire 688 million internet users in China. Around 53.3% of users use WeChat more than 1 hour per day.
Among the many functions WeChat has to offer, the fastest growing one is online shopping. In recent years, it has become more important and popular and there is now around 34.5% of WeChat users shopping online.
Some of the unique features WeChat has to offer are located in the ‘Wallet’ tab, where users can access interface options such as mobile topping up or paying for utilities, as well as access to an online shopping mall — JD (Jingdong.com – One of China’s major E-Commerce platforms). WeChat has collaborated with JD which has allowed users to directly access the JD Mall without leaving the WeChat app.
On the other hand, Alibaba’s E-Commerce platforms Taobao and Tmall, cannot be easily accessed within the WeChat app. If attempted to access a Taobao or Tmall shop, a page will appear stating ‘the URL cannot be accessed, you need to COPY and PASTE the URL to your web browser and access from there”. In comparison to JD.com’s convenient and easy to access feature on WeChat, this is a major downside for user experience and therefore makes the whole process to access Tmall or Taobao extremely user unfriendly.
If you look at the Chinese market, there are many international brands who have already opened an online store on Tmall. However, be aware that they might be missing out on an opportunity to communicate with those 570 million WeChat users, who use the app on a daily basis, by not expanding their brand on E-Commerce websites such as JD.