Just a few days after testing ads in the WeChat timeline, Tencent has brought WeChat advertising live. Regular ads in the service began appearing in users’ timelines over the weekend, and among the first ones to pop up were advertisements for global brands BMW and Coca-Cola. Chinese smartphone maker Vivo also has ads on the service. It’s no surprise that global brands are interested in getting in on the ground floor of WeChat advertising. The service current boasts nearly 500 million active users, and it continues to grow.
WeChat is testing out adverts, according to numerous screenshots floating around the web today. The adverts are in the WeChat Moments section of the app, which is a bit like the Facebook timeline. The first ever ad inside WeChat Moments seems to be a test by Tencent itself. It shows a Moments post by WeChat’s own official account showing up labelled as a “promoted” post in random people’s timelines.
This time last year, popular messaging app WeChat launched an online personal investment fund for its users in China. It allows people to get better interest rates for their savings than from banks. Now WeChat’s maker, Tencent, has revealed that the wealth fund has 10 million users who’ve banked a total of RMB 100 billion, which is US$16.2 billion. That amounts to an average of US$1,610 for each user.
On the sidelines of CES in Las Vegas, Ceasars Entertainment partnered up with WeChat to give tours of new smart hotel rooms at The LINQ, a local hotel and casino. Visitors could use an app inside WeChat to control lighting, thermostats, and curtains. The connected suites will be the first of many such hotel rooms from Ceasars catering to overseas Chinese.
Tencent is China’s second-biggest internet company, recently stripped of its number one spot by Alibaba. It’s also one of the country’s most active venture capitalists. While Alibaba made headlines with massive investments into big established companies, Tencent got down and dirty with early stage investments into nascent startups.
Nearly five months after the initial tie-up in Singapore, today WeChat and EasyTaxi announced that its partnership is rolling out to Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Starting today, WeChat users in those three countries can flag a taxi inside the messaging app. People can do this by adding EasyTaxi’s official WeChat account inside the chat app (Malaysia: easytaximy; Thailand: EasyTaxiThailand; the Philippines: EasyTaxi_PH).
Whoops! WeChat is China’s most popular chat app by a country mile, but the folks behind China’s new WeChat Phonebook were left apologizing on Thursday after its Wednesday launch was marred by severe technical problems. WeChat Phonebook has garnered a lot of interest in China as a way to make your phone smarter and cheaper. The app offers free VOIP calling (as long as you’re on wifi) and a variety of convenient services like automatic contact list backup, syncing WeChat avatar images with your contact list, easy group texting, etc.
The newest data from Tencent, China’s social media web giant, shows that its WeChat messaging app now has 468.1 million active users (MAUs) in Q3 2014. That’s up from 438 million MAUs in Q2. It represents quarterly growth of 6.8 percent – by far the lowest it has ever seen. WeChat’s growth is nearly half the rate that it saw from Q1 to Q2. Once again, Tencent did not indicate how many of WeChat’s active users are outside China. This is the app’s growth rate in terms of MAUs so far:
As Hong Kong’s Occupy Central protests continue to gather momentum and attention, Hong Kong’s denizens are sharing photos of the moment on social media. But apparently , photos of the protests posted to WeChat by Hong Kong-based users are being censored, and are not visible for WeChat users in mainland China. For example, Hong Kong-based blogger Cam MacMurchy shared the screenshots below with Tech in Asia. On the left is an image from Hong Kong he posted to WeChat on September 30th.
WeChat gets a v6.0 update today – only on iOS so far – that adds in two useful new features. But, as often happens with WeChat, one of these is restricted to its China-based users. The new WeChat feature open to everyone is Vine-like short videos called Sight. This is available in both personal messages and the more public WeChat Moments. In either case, you’re limited to a six-second video. If it’s sent as a message, it autoplays rather like a Vine video or a GIF. It looks like this:
The younger generation in Singapore and other Asia Pacific countries are adopting WeChat, a mobile social communication application for smartphones, in droves. According to GlobalWebIndex (GWI), a market research company specialising in online consumer behaviour, WeChat’s active user base has increased over 55% from Q2 2013 to Q2 2014 globally, with Singapore’s growth attributed at 60%.
Tencent has introduced in-store mobile payments in WeChat, its popular mobile messaging app, for nine retail chains across China. As Pingwest reports, Chinese WeChat users will spot a new “Small Payments” (shuaka, or “swipe card” in Chinese) feature inside the “Wallet” section of the app. Pressing the icon and entering one’s password for WeChat Payments will subsequently generate a QR Code or a barcode that retailers can scan to accept payments for in-store purchases.
China’s biggest internet company Tencent has signed a deal to buy a stake in Sinopec’s sales and marketing arm, according to MarketWatch . This gives Tencent access to the oil giant’s retail operations across China. The maker of WeChat is one of several investors involved in the deal with China’s biggest oil company. The deal is worth RMB 107.1 billion (US$17.44 billion) from 25 new investors, which also include insurance giant PICC, and asset management firm Munsun. Each company can own up to a 2.8 percent stake.
BEIJING: Apple Inc has a lot for which to thank people like Deng. A Beijing-based quality analyst, she gave only her surname as she’s embarrassed by how much money she spends playing mobile games on WeChat, a hugely popular messaging app developed by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd.
Tencent today announced a suite of new features for businesses to better engage customers through their public WeChat accounts, according to TechNode . One day earlier, Alibaba’s mobile Alipay Wallet released over 60 new APIs for third party developers to build online storefronts, according to the company’s official English-language blog .