Breaking News: It’s official! Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has followed in the footsteps of Bill Gates (see previous article) and opened up a WeChat official account. Read on to find out the details plus a series of highly revealing quotes from the Zuck regarding his thoughts on China’s social media.
Above: Mark’s new official account
In the new account’s first article Mark introduces why he is opening the account and what he hopes to achieve:
I believe opening a WeChat account is the perfect way to reach out to Chinese people and show that we’re willing to adapt to local Chinese market conditions. Good faith goes a long way sometimes and we want to show that we’re in China for the long game. At first the thought of opening up an account on a non-Facebook owned social network kind of made me a little hesitant. But hey look on the bright side, this is a piece of cake compared to the time we went jogging in Beijing.
Above: Mark jogging in Beijing (March 2016)
It’s unclear what Mark meant by the last part of that statement but it’s been widely speculated that he may be referring to Beijing’s notorious smog.
Of course, I travel to China regularly so I must confess I’ve been a secret WeChat user for some time now. Every time I see WeChat has a new feature that I like I send an email off to R&D. Usually we can iterate pretty fast but at the moment we’ve shifted our focus a little to Snapchat.
Above: WhatsApp’s newly launched status feature (above) has been widely criticized as a shameless rip-off of SnapChat stories.
Tencent (WeChat’s parent company) just bought 5% of Tesla so I thought it would be good to beat Elon to it and open up on WeChat first. Mark joked at one point.
Is Elon Musk next?
At first I thought WeChat was a little over hyped. It’s just WhatsApp for China, right? How good can a social network really be if it’s not owned by us? Then I linked my bank card and I was like ‘Wow!’ now I get it.
Above: Scanning to link a bank card to WeChat
Mark even went as far as to reveal the following gem:
I tried sending a lucky money packet to a high level government official, who shall definitely remain nameless, he said he couldn’t accept it as it could be construed as a bribe. My advisors told me that’s how things are done in China though.
God, I wish American’s had this tradition of sending lucky money, we’d be killing it on payments by now if that was the case!
Mark finally stated:
Facebook is willing to do whatever it takes to enter the Chinese market. And I really mean that. I didn’t waste 5 years learning Chinese to be left hanging like this.