We’ve talked about this plan before as cross platform messaging app WeChat (aka “Weixin to Chinese users”) prepared to localize itself in Indonesia – and today, the company has announced the official launch of WeChat in the country. China-made WeChat boasts as many as 200 million users worldwide already at the moment, almost as big as the entire Indonesian population. This move by WeChat will definitely put some heat on other messaging competitors such as WhatsApp and Line. Might Blackberry’s BBM be threatened too? Yes, we think so.
One of the main reasons WeChat chose to expand to Indonesia is because of the country’s huge smartphone growth. Dennis Hau, the head of the international product center of Tencent (HKG:0700) comments on WeChat’s uniqueness in today’s announcement:
WeChat is not just a simple instant messenger mobile app but it is actually a platform that intends to introduce a new communication style where users can connect with each other via interesting features like hold-to-talk voice messaging, video chat, photo sharing and shake for finding friends, to name a few.
WeChat’s killer feature has always been its hold-to-talk voice messaging. The app acts very similarly to the traditional walkie-talkie in the past, but this time without any limit on distance. Of course there are other interesting features to use, such as ‘Moments.’ This feature allows users to post Facebook-like (or Path-like) status and picture updates for their friends to see. This feature can also be used by brands and companies such as Starbucks as an alternative marketing strategy.
The WeChat app is available on all popular platforms: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and even Symbian. You can download them free here. Admittedly, Tech in Asia also uses WeChat to send out a daily recommended story, so do join us there!
Below are some screenshots of the WeChat features: