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.”
China CITIC Bank International Limited (the “Bank” or “CNCBI”) announced this week the launch of WeChat Pay on its WeChat Official Account (“OA”). CNCBI first launched its OA last October. Now CNCBI extends its offerings from instant banking services to WeChat Pay, becoming the first banking institution in Hong Kong to embrace this e-payment solution. Customers purchasing single-trip travel insurance packages from CNCBI via WeChat Pay will get a 50% premium discount, while they can enjoy the convenience of an innovative experience with a variety of banking services.
“CNCBI Travel Insurance Packages” via WeChat Pay is available for both existing and non CNCBI customers. All customers simply need to log onto their WeChat accounts and “follow” the CNCBI WeChat OA, tap the “Banking Services” icon on the CNCBI OA, then “Purchase Travel Insurance”. Customers will be redirected to WeChat Pay to settle the payment by VISA or MasterCard to complete the transaction.
Following our recent announcement showcasing how WeChat users are increasingly integrating the app into their daily lives, we are now giving you a front-row seat at the original data reveal.
Hear directly from our very own Stephen Wang, who manages the International Operations team and Data Analytics team for WeChat’s Core Product Group, as he presents the latest WeChat Lifestyle findings at a recent event in San Francisco.
With 570M daily users, WeChat is paving the way for so much more than just chatting. Stay tuned for more “We Chat About WeChat” podcasts coming soon.
If you or someone you know wants to join our team, building the WeChat Lifestyle for millions, we are hiring talented product managers. Click here to apply now: http://www.wechat.com/en/careers.html
WeChat has extended its features in South Africa with the introduction of the WeChat Wallet, a digital wallet service. Like a physical wallet, you can securely store your bank cards and make instant cash payments within WeChat with the new feature.
With WeChat Wallet, users can electronically send cash to friends and family, just like handing cash to a friend to get you lunch or pay for coffee or a drinks at the bar. You can now use up to three chip and PIN debit or credit cards in the WeChat Wallet. Transactions through the cards are verified by Visa and MasterCard security systems, can be saved in the WeChat Wallet.
Cards linked to the wallet can also be used to Cash In and increase your wallet’s cash balance, pay for services on WeChat such as airtime, data, electricity, food or pay SnapScan merchants. People can Cash In and Cash Out at Standard Bank ATMs, participating retailers, including SPAR, SPAR Tops and Cambridge Food Stores.
In addition, cash can be sent to friends via WeChat – even without the need for a bank account. When registering for the WeChat Wallet, users automatically become Standard Bank Instant Money users, which allows those without bank accounts to enjoy the benefits of the platform. Instant Money vouchers make up the cash balance, which can be topped up via Standard Bank self-service channels.
People can also Cash In and Cash Out via Instant Money Vouchers at Standard Bank ATMs and participating retailers, including SPAR, Cambridge, Rhino and Choppies Stores.
WeChat has partnered with Western Union, a leader in global payment services, to offer WeChat users in the United States the ability to send and receive money cross-border to 200 countries and territories via the company’s WU Connect platform.
The partnership marks WeChat as the first social communication application to provide a technology platform to support person-to-person cross-border money transfer capabilities to more than 200 countries and territories. The capability is now available to WeChat users in the United States, with planned rollouts to additional countries in the future.
Curious who the average WeChat user is and what their day looks like? We recently revealed new data giving an inside look at what the WeChat Lifestyle means for our users around the world.
An average of 570 million users log in to WeChat each day (September 2015). Additionally WeChat’s daily active users (users who interact with another account) has grown by 64 percent in a single year. Whether it be to purchase goods, track exercise activity, catch up on news or stay connected to friends, users are utilizing WeChat for so much more than just messaging.
WeChat users are not only young, but also social, with 60 percent of users between the ages of 15-29 years old and having an average of 128 friends in the app.
A Day in the Life of a Typical User
With the sophisticated features launched on Weixin, WeChat’s sister product in China, a typical day for a user looks like this.
During their day, they use key features of WeChat and Weixin to make their lives easier:
Staying connected with all your friends just got easier with video calling – now for groups. With WeChat 6.3.5 for iOS, WeChatters can start a video call in a group chat with up to nine people or choose audio only for group voice calls. We’re also introducing Group Notices and new enhancements to the WeRun-WeChat Official Account fitness tracker.
Video & Voice Call for Groups
Talk face-to-face with up to nine friends all at once with FREE video calling now for groups. Simply choose to turn off “Video” for a group voice call.
Within a group chat, click the + menu and select “Video Call.”
Choose members to join.
Wait for friends to accept your invite and then start chatting.
A security flaw, caused by an external malware, was recently discovered affecting iOS users only on WeChat version 6.2.5. This flaw has been repaired and will not affect users who install or upgrade WeChat version 6.2.6 or greater, currently available on the iOS App Store. Here are some important points about the situation.
The flaw, described in recent media reports, only affects WeChat v6.2.5 for iOS. Newer versions of WeChat (versions 6.2.6 or greater) are not affected.
A preliminary investigation into the flaw has revealed that there has been no theft and leakage of users’ information or money, but the WeChat team will continue to closely monitor the situation.
The WeChat tech team has extensive experience combating attempts to hack our systems. Once the security flaw was discovered, the team immediately took steps to secure against any theft of user information.
Users who encounter any issues can contact the team by leaving feedback in the “WeChat Team” WeChat account.
We’re excited to share with you WeChat 6.2.5 for iOS. With this update, WeChatters can now create and save rich media messages under their “Favorites,” or send them to another conversation. The rich media message format allows WeChatters to combine texts, images, locations and audio messages all into one simple message.
Create and Save Rich Media Messages
Whether you’re working on a reminder or a message for someone special, it’s fast and easy to create and save rich media messages under your “Favorites.”