When One App Rules Them All: The Case of WeChat and Mobile in China (Connie Chan)

Matthew Brennan Article from other sources

Today we want to draw your attention to one of the most well written and thought provoking WeChat articles we’ve read this year. This article was written by Connie Chan, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz. She describes why WeChat is such an important app globally and how it’s advanced far beyond western social platforms like Facebook. To read the full article (below is just the introduction section) please click on the read more link at the end.


This post is all about WeChat, but it’s also about more than just WeChat. While seemingly just a messaging app, WeChat is actually more of a portal, a platform, and even a mobile operating system depending on how you look at it.

Much has been written about WeChat in the context of messaging app trends, but few outside of China really understand how it works — and how it can pull off what for many companies (and countries) is still a far-off vision of a world managed entirely through our smartphones. Many of WeChat’s most interesting features — such as access to city services — are not even visible to users outside China. So why should people outside of China even care about WeChat? The first and most obvious reason is that it points to where Facebook and other messaging apps could head. Second, WeChat indicates where the future of mobile commerce may lie. Third, WeChat shows what it’s like to be both a platform and a mobile portal (what Yahoo could have been).

Ultimately, however, WeChat should matter to all of us because it shows what’s possible when an entire country — which currently has a smartphone penetration of 62% (that’s almost 1/3 of its population) — “leapfrogs” over the PC era directly to mobile. WeChat was not a product that started as a website and then was adapted for mobile, it was (to paraphrase a certain movie) born into it, molded by it.

Most notable, however, for anyone in the tech business is WeChat’s average revenue per user or ARPU, which is estimated to be at least $7 USD — that’s 7Xthe ARPU of WhatsApp, the largest messaging platform in the world. How did WeChat do it?

Click on this link to read the full article.