I’ve written before about how Netease and China Telecom are reportedly working on a WeChat competitor and why such an endeavor is doomed, but in spite of my pessimism, the companies have pressed on and now, interestingly, Tencent Tech has gotten a hold of the first screenshots from the chat app, which is called Yixin:
Supposedly, the app is now in internal beta testing (that’s how the screenshots got leaked) and it should be ready for a more public release soon. Tencent Tech’s source estimated that it was likely to see app store shelves sometime in late August or early September.
As you can see from the screenshots above, Yixin currently sports a “friends’ circles” feature that’s a bit reminiscent of Google Plus (especially with that graphic design), and its most unique feature may be that it allows users to leave phone messages via the app. Other than that, it seems to be more or less what you’d expect from a chat app, although as it remains in beta this may not be representative of the final version at all.
Tencent Tech also points out that the app they got a hold of seems to have been created by a company called Zhejiang Yixin, which Tencent speculates is likely a joint-venture subsidiary of China Telecom and Netease.
(via Tencent Tech)