January 2011: The world was fixated on the Middle East as the Arab Spring street protests erupted across Eygpt. America was still reeling from the WikiLeaks scandal and Japan was weeks away from the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent nuclear power plant emergencies.
At the same time, a small team based in Tencent’s Guangzhou Research and Development Center released a new app on January 21st 2011 called Weixin 微信 (English version later named WeChat). 433 days later WeChat had reached 100 million users! Here’s what the original looked like:
Yes, that’s right the original WeChat 1.0 color scheme was blue! No stickers. No walkie-talkie voice messaging. Just 1 button for pictures on the left and 1 button to send on the right.
Here’s the original login screen:
The original chat thread timeline:
The original settings page:
WeChat’s 1.0 original app description boasted the following:
- Instant text messaging
- Share pictures with friends
- Set your own profile picture