In January 2013, the number of users had reached 300 million.
The question remains: if Weibo and We Chat are so different, why are they always compared to each other? Sina Weibo is a social media platform, both a website and mobile phone application, that allows users to share updates in text or image with one’s ‘followers’ in a unidirectional follower/followee network.
‘Weibo’ literally means ‘micro-blog’ and ‘Weixin’ literally means ‘micro-message’.
To build on one’s We Chat relations, many local companies offer freebies for customers who ‘follow’ them on We Chat; for instance, there are many Chinese bars or restaurants that offer free drinks for those who become We Chat fans.
Event flyers often incorporate their Weixin QR code so fans can easily scan it to add to We Chat.
When talking to friends and saying things like ‘happy birthday’, ‘I miss you’, or ‘xoxo’, the screen will fill itself with falling hearts, stars or smilies. One does not only connect through We Chat by matching one’s address book or adding them by them ‘ID’, but when meeting someone who you want to add to your We Chat, you can simply let them scan your own QR-code.
We Chat Basic Functions: Amongst its millions of users, there are 100.000s of companies that have registered with We Chat.
Like Whatsapp, We Chat allows users to send each other emoticons.
These might also entail popular animated ‘stickers’- moving images of cartoon characters, your own face or even gifs.
The app is an “unstoppable marketing method” for companies (Wang 2014, 3); We Chat allows them to reach their customers in versatile ways.
Not only does We Chat allow companies to minimize the gap with their customers and maintain relations, it also lets them reach out to new clients and explore new ways of marketing (Fang 2014, 3-5).
Rather than sending written text, users send voice messages in a very walkie-talkie kind of way. Its ‘Moments’ function allows every user to have its own ‘timeline’ where they can post updates for all their friends to see.