A few days ago, The Verge released an article explaining Facebook wants to be WeChat. Mark Zuckerberg announces Facebook shifts its focus from a series of social apps to one-stop shop messaging service. Tencent’s WeChat, the largest social network in China, already combines all these functionalities and keeps developing new features. The main purposes are a singular app, all-purpose networks to leverage a wide range of other services, from mobile payments (WePay) to gaming to business contacts.

As digital students in China, we would like to reply to it and explain why, in our opinion, Facebook can’t be WeChat.

A quick reminder of Facebook and WeChat

Facebook started out as the website and application to use for connecting to friends, acquaintances, follow brands and organizations’ pages for the latest updates.  They rapidly spread, improved their features and the UX design. And, that’s it.

While Facebook was spreading worldwide and conquering different markets, Tencent was struggling to make WeChat more known internationally. Rather than giving up and limiting their service to messaging, Tencent asked its consumers what they want for WeChat. By listening to their consumers, WeChat has never stopped developing since that moment and is always a step ahead of its competitors.

WeChat has a monthly active user base of over 1 billion (in and out China) growing, while Facebook has been losing users for the past few years due to numerous scandals and its outdated design.

Factors in WeChat’s Success that Facebook can’t have

The success of WeChat is also due to the Chinese government subsidies’ help and many of its rivals have been blocked from running: Messenger, Line, Kakao Talk, What’s App among others. The competitor landscape has been considerably wiped. QQ, another Chinese Social Network App, remained its main competitor for the past few years.

Facebook will face several issues with the European Commission and the United States Congress which question Facebook becoming a monopoly. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) proposed breaking-up Facebook and other tech giants as part of her presidential campaign. Moreover, they still compete with several other messaging apps.

One-single app? Yes. Mini-programs? Not yet.

Facebook with Instagram and What’s app divided WeChat’s basic features in different apps. They also have Terragraph (a Wi-Fi project) and Express Wi-Fi which convert people into Facebook users.

WeChat is already ahead of Facebook with its Mini-Programs. Brands aren’t required to develop apps and spend millions on it. Mini-Programs simplify the Customer Journey and cost less in development.

Lastly, Facebook and Instagram had a major breakdown worldwide last night and the situation is not back to normal for everyone. WeChat has yet to face such issues.

What’s your opinion on the topic? Are you familiar with WeChat?


Image credits: Walk the Chat