Breaking News: WeChat has just released a new feature to coincide with the Chinese National Day holidays – real time foot traffic heat maps. Allowing you to see the density of people in an area in real time.
It’s no coincidence that the timing of the release coincidences with National Day. Planning your movements better to avoid highly crowded areas will be enormously helpful for many people over the ‘Golden Week’ holiday. For very specific locations we can see data which reveals the busiest days of the week and the busiest time of the day. This has the potential to be of great help to anyone organizing outdoor events or promotions.
Through some brief testing, it seems you can currently check data from across all major cities in China. China Channel compared a couple of famous areas during the afternoon of National Day (Nov 1st). No prizes for guessing which was the busiest.
Shanghai – Nanjing Road
Chengdu – Chunxi Road Area
Beijing – Tiananmen Square Area
How to get it working on your phone
The feature is brand new so it’s only available in Chinese. To change your phone’s language setting to Chinese follow these steps: Me > Settings > General > Language > 简体中文
The feature is under ‘City Services’ (城市服务) which are only available currently in larger Chinese cities. First check to see if you can now see the city services button on your WeChat wallet page Me>Wallet (我》钱包).
If you can’t see it, change the city on your profile to either Beijing or Shanghai: Me>Profile Picture>Area ( 我》头像图》地区 ).
Go back to your wallet page and you should now see the ‘City Services’ button. Select it and then tap on the banner at the top to get access to the heat maps.
Summary & Analysis
Foot traffic heat maps is an excellent example of the services that are now become possible due to WeChat’s universal adoption across China. In the next year China Channel expects the WeChat City Services package to expand out across all major cities in China and increasingly become an integrated part of people’s daily lives. Foot traffic heat maps is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s possible with combining public services and data into the WeChat eco-system.