WeChat aims to connect users to the people they care about around the world. One of the most popular times to connect and call loved ones is during the holidays. This Lunar New Year, users made 2.1 billion minutes of free calls on WeChat – five times more than the previous year.
A total of 46 billion red packets were also exchanged during this Spring Festival holiday.
Learn more about how WeChat users celebrated the holiday in the data report below created by the WeChat team.
WeChat users in 12 countries including the United States, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy, Thailand and India can now use WeChat Out to make calls to mobile phones and landlines in over 200 countries for nominal rates. WeChat Out is the latest milestone offering of the world’s fastest growing social app with 762 million monthly active users around the world.
New WeChat Out users will receive more than an hour* of free calling credit. And all users can earn even more rewards by participating in our “Invite Friends, Get Free Calls” campaign.
One Click to a Free Call
“Invite Friends, Get Free Calls” is simple – the more you give, the more you get.
Sometimes you just can’t replace a call or face-to-face chat with friends, whether it be on your mobile or desktop. That’s why in our latest version of WeChat for Windows, we are introducing group voice and video calls now available directly from your PC via WeChat!
Be sure to upgrade now to WeChat for Windows 2.1 to get started and check out all the latest updates.
What’s New in WeChat for Windows 2.1?
1. Place voice and video calls within group chats
2. Send files 4 times as large with the new files size limit increase from 25 MB to now 100MB!
3. Experience the newly designed look of your chat bubbles
4. Enjoy improvements to the embedded browser for a better user experience.
In January, we launched “WeChat Out,” a breakthrough VOIP feature allowing users to make low-rate calls to mobile phones and landlines around the globe via WeChat.
After receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from our initial rollout in the United States, India, and Hong Kong, we are excited to announce the official launch of the feature in Thailand, Laos, Macau and Italy. This brings the total countries and regions where WeChat Out is available to seven.
If you are in one of the countries WeChat Out is now available, be sure to update to the latest version and start calling. WeChat will provide free call credit and discounts for you!
What is “WeChat Out”?
“WeChat Out” is a new feature in WeChat that enables calls to landline or mobile phones. Using WeChat Out, users can easily make affordable and high-quality calls from anywhere in the world to anywhere else.
WeChat Out is easy-to-use. Just update to the latest version of the app and navigate to the “Discover” screen to find the new WeChat Out feature. Tap “WeChat Out” and WeChat will show your address book, a dial pad, and your WeChat Out call history. Now placing a call via WeChat is as easy as dialing a few numbers.
Lunar New Year is known as China’s largest holiday. This year was no exception as people in Asia and all around the world ushered in the year of the monkey with WeChat.
Through WeChat, users participated in the holiday’s time honored traditions in new and fun ways.
Red Packets or Lucky Money are gift envelopes stuffed with cash typically exchanged between family and friends. Through WeChat Red Packets, users were able to instead give digital cash in the form of communication. On this Lunar New Year’s Eve alone, over 8 billion Red Packets were sent and received by 420 millions users. This represented eight times more than last year’s holiday.
Read the full “Spring Festival 2016 on WeChat” white paper and learn exactly how WeChat helped family and friends connect this year: CLICK HERE
This Chinese New Year, Hong Kong WeChat users for the first time can spread the joy of giving and receiving Lai See even further with WeChat’s new Red Packet feature. Regardless of how far apart you are from loved ones, no one will have to miss out as we welcome in the year of the Monkey.
Giving & Receiving Red Packets Like a Pro
Aside from just giving set amounts, you can also test the luck of your friends and family through the WeChat Red Packet game! Simply choose a lump sum to send to your chat group and let WeChat randomly assign an amount of money to put in each of your designated Red Packets. Your group will have to be quick-fingered to get your good wishes. Test their luck by grabbing Red Packets like a pro with these tips:
1. Have Your WeChat Wallet Ready
Make sure you download or update to the latest version of WeChat and activate your WeChat Wallet to save the Packet money sent to you. Simply connect your Hong Kong credit card (MasterCard or Visa) with your WeChat Pay account to set a 6-digit pin code, and you are ready to start grabbing Red Packets!
Tens of millions of users send Red Packets (formerly called “Lucky Money” or “Red Envelopes”) stuffed with digital cash to each other every day on WeChat. What is this amazing mobile payments product and how did it get so popular? Learn how WeChat transformed person-to-person payments into a form of communication.
We speak with Stephen Wang, senior product manager at WeChat and Siyu Xiao, the product manager responsible for the most recent redesign of the Red Packets product.
As a follow up to the podcast, in Spring Festival 2015 (February 2015), WeChat delivered over 1 billion Red Packets. Less than one year later during New Year 2016 (January 1, 2016), WeChat users sent each other over 2.3 billion Red Packets.
Caesars Entertainment introduces “Ben” the WeChat Robot – a virtual concierge – using ObEN’s proprietary speech technology at The LINQ Hotel located at the center of the Las Vegas Strip during the annual Consumer Electronics Show from Jan. 6-9.
ObEN, an artificial intelligence (A.I.) company based in Pasadena, Calif., has developed a proprietary deep-learning based speech technology that permits any Internet of Things such as WeChat Robots to communicate in any language and in any voice in a matter of minutes.
During CES, visitors and guests of The LINQ Hotel will have the opportunity to converse with “Ben” the WeChat Robot from 7-11 a.m. and 4-8 p.m. on Jan. 6-9 through the WeChat app using an Internet of Things (IoT) platform developed by ObEN. To physically interact with “Ben,” guests at the hotel can use the touchscreen on the robot to obtain information on nearby dining, entertainment and nightlife options. Guests can also send a message to the robot by following Caesars Entertainment on WeChat, and “Ben” will speak back to them on-site in real time. Additionally, guests can scan Caesars Entertainment’s WeChat QR code anytime during Jan. 6-9 to engage with the virtual concierge from anywhere and receive information about the wide variety of experiences Caesars Entertainment Las Vegas resorts offer.
To ring in the New Year, we’ve launched WeChat Out, a new VOIP feature designed by WeChat to help users call mobile and landlines around the globe at low rates. WeChat Out is only available for users outside of Mainland China. Currently, the feature is live in the United States, Hong Kong and India, and will cover more countries and regions in the near future.
WeChat Out not only provides excellent call quality, but also offers super-low calling rates. With WeChat Out, you can call at any time and anywhere.
As our New Year gift to you, we have given you $0.99 USD in calling fees, providing up to 100 minutes of free calls for most numbers around the globe (See Calling Rates in FAQ). Update your version of WeChat and enjoy calling now.
A few tips for using WeChat Out:
1. Tap the “+” icon on the top right of the main screen and select WeChat Out
2. Select the mobile contact you’d like to call or dial the number in the dial pad to make a call
WeChat is investing R50 million in tech companies supporting local talents and innovations.
The fund will be used to identify and support tech-enabled businesses by assisting with rapid market access using the WeChat platform. Access to markets was listed as one of the biggest inhibitors to growth for tech-enabled businesses, in the recent Emerging Companies survey conducted by PWC and Silicon Cape.
To coordinate the initiative, tech strategy practice firm, Batstone, has been appointed by WeChat Africa to source and coordinate its early stage investment opportunities.
Brett Loubser, head of WeChat Africa says, ”Our fund aims to provide financial support to businesses so that they can effectively get on the WeChat platform. This will include technical integration and communications tactics across the Naspers’ stable and other suited channels.”