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WeChat Key trends & strategies. How WeChat changes the world’s app market 

Aug 27 · 4 read

WeChat app mobile startups

With internet access available worldwide and digital technology developing at the speed of light, it is no wonder that the e-commerce market is skyrocketing and that online marketing is more powerful than ever before.

In 2018, consumers across the globe bought goods at 2.86 trillion USD online. That is a plus of 18% compared to the previous year 2017. With almost 50%, e-commerce in China has the largest market share. In 2018, China’s online retail sales equalled about 1.33 trillion USD. The USA takes second place.

Are you wondering, what all of this has got to do with the app market? In case you haven’t heard, WeChat is not only China’s most popular messaging app with over 1 billion monthly active users, but it is also the world’s largest standalone mobile app.

Now, are you ready to find out, how WeChat changes the world’s app market? Take your time to dive into the Wolfpack Digital blog post about the world’s largest super app, the rise of online commerce and 5 top app trends we can learn from WeChat.

What is WeChat?

In Chinese, WeChat is called 微信 or Wēixìn. It literally means “micro-message”. The company behind this Chinese multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app is Tencent, a Chinese multinational investment holding conglomerate and expert for app launching in China.

WeChat was first released in 2011 and has since become the “app for everything” in the Chinese app market - from chatting with friends to online shopping and making mobile payments.

You will not be surprised to hear that WeChat advertising, for example, through KOL influencer marketing and in-app sales like stickers, has enormous customer outreach and sales power. WeChat for business is a highly effective and efficient marketing tool, and also often used by celebrities (Wanghong) for product promotion purposes on their official accounts.

If you wish to harness this sheer unlimited sales power of consumers around the world and the global app market, continue reading. We will reveal the 5 top app trends we can learn from WeChat and explain strategies to make these trends benefit your business.

5 top trends in how WeChat changes the world’s app market

WeChat is truly a phenomenon. By now it has over 1 billion monthly active users and over 1 million mini-apps in their Chinese app store! Without further ado, here are the 5 top app trends we can learn from WeChat:

1. Provide a Mini App

So-called “mini-programs” are lightweight apps that run inside WeChat. For example, if you need to call a cab, you don’t have to download the standalone app Didi Chuxing from the app store. You can simply open the equivalent mini program in WeChat directly. They load faster as they are only up to 2MB big. For your business, these mini-apps can be an attractive alternative as they are cheaper and easier to build compared to native apps. You will not only be part of a trend as Alibaba (the world’s biggest online commerce company) and Baidu (China’s top search engine) plan mini-app launching in China but you'll potentially increase your mobile app revenue.

2. Offer integrated services

Let’s take a lesson from Google. For this tech-giant, it was a challenge to push its other products with the now discontinued Google+. On the other hand, Tencent automatically added Tencent News to WeChat. This feature is similar to the Yahoo News Digest, which pushes the news to its users. This does not interfere with the user experience, because it behaves like a chat. For your business, think about how you can integrate your product range into your mini-programs or native apps in a Chinese app store or another global market.

3. Let your audience find you

Today’s world has an abundance of information. Making sure that your target audience finds your products and services is key to success. WeChat added the word-of-mouth effect to its search function. A feature, which search giant Baidu simply can’t match. As more users take advantage of the search function on WeChat, there are opportunities for your business to monetize the WeChat search results. For example, get your app listed on the WeChat brand zone feature at the top of search results.

4. Connect to global travellers

Not only the Chinese online retail market is growing. Chinese outbound travellers are also increasing and reached 134 million in 2018. Wherever these consumers travel, they stay connected and informed via WeChat. Highlighting features that are related to travel, holiday and leisure can boost your app. This can be for example, if your product is eligible for duty-free shopping, has a foreign luxury appeal or a wider selection is available abroad.

5. Reach senior citizens

In China, a new online group is on the rise: senior citizens. Senior users vastly contribute to the growth of WeChat. With 65 million of WeChat’s monthly users over the age of 55, senior citizens are the app’s fastest-growing group. Many of them love playing mini-games. In fact, almost one-third of all WeChat mini-programs are mini-games. Making your app suitable for seniors could help your business grow. Also, consider highlighting if your products or services have a special benefit for older people. 

The global app market is very versatile. Not sure where to start? Or do you want to save time, energy and money? Find a top app development agency and make your new app a hit around the world.

The takeaway

The e-commerce market is booming with China and the Chinese app market is leading this trend. Purchasing online has become a natural part of everyday life and mobile apps are a vital element of commerce platforms.

WeChat is the world’s leading standalone app. Chinese consumers use it as social media, online shopping, and mobile payment with a large Chinese app store. Studying trends and strategies from this world’s leading app is a smart move. 

  • Screenshot 2019 08 27 at 15.12.53

    Christian Schuster

    Founder @Tenba Group

  • German entrepreneur and founder of Tenba Group. This service agency is a Cyprus-based, global multilingual digital agency, which provides businesses with integrated digital marketing solutions, and Chinese marketing strategies to unlock the potential of the digital world - in China and around the globe.