Tech in Asia — We all know that WeChat is the hottest social media platform in China, and that’s been the case for some time. But has Sina Weibo, which was once the belle of China’s social media ball, fallen completely by the wayside? Maybe not. In fact, it might even be making a bit of a comeback.
Mobile World Live — Chinese internet giant Tencent is partnering with Japanese social data provider Hotto Link to roll out its WeChat Pay service to 10,000 stores in Japan by the end of the year. According to Nikkei Asia Review, only a few Japanese stores have adopted WeChat Pay, which is targeted at Chinese travellers who account for a quarter of all visitors to Japan and spend a lot more than other groups.
Tech in Asia — Last week, WeChat rolled out its answer to Slack, WeChat Enterprise. But while Slack itself has never had a large presence in China, WeChat isn’t waltzing into this market alone – Alibaba’s DingTalk was there first, and the company isn’t looking to give in easily.
The Next Web — WeChat is ready to take on a new market: the office. The company today launched WeChat Enterprise, essentially its competitor to the ever-growing Slack. First announced in March, it has most of the features you expect from standard WeChat. You can make groups, send photos, voice clips, files, locations and even stickers. However, it differentiates itself with a few work-centric changes.
Add this to the list of things you can do with WeChat: buy Apple gadgets. Tencent’s messaging-app-cum-everything-platform announced Wednesday that support for WeChat Pay has been added to Apple’s official online stores in China. That means that you can now use WeChat pay for all of your Apple gadget and accessory needs.
Tech in Asia — The battle over the Chinese epayment market is raging fiercely now that Apple Pay and Samsung Pay have taken to the field in China. But WeChat Pay is heading in the opposite direction: the service announced yesterday that it’s launching support for overseas vendors. The system will allow Chinese users to put money into their WeChat Pay accounts in RMB (as they currently do).
Tech in Asia — The trend of buying things through chat has taken off in such a big way in China that some wonder if it’s a sign that chat commerce will pose a threat to conventional ecommerce around the world. The prime example of this trend is WeChat, China’s most popular messaging app that just turned five years old. Some of our writers have spent entire days using nothing but the chat app – and have all lived to tell the tale.
Telecom Asia — WeChat has launched its payment service WeChat Pay in Hong Kong, including the new Wallet in-app payment feature. Wallet allows WeChat users to connect their MasterCard or Visa credit cards with their accounts to allow them to pay for products and services without having to exit the WeChat app.
China Tech News — Tencent’s WeChat launched a new function named “WeChat Out”, which allows users to call fixed-line phones or mobile phones, aiming to compete with its Asian competitor Line. This new function is currently only available in some markets outside mainland China, including the U.S., Hong Kong, and India. However, Tencent promised that it will soon be available in more countries and regions.
Microsoft launched its intelligent personal assistant “XiaoIce” on Tencent’s WeChat Thursday with plans for business use to compete with rivals like Apple’s Siri and Google Now. XiaoIce, a virtual personal assistant that Microsoft says was developed by its Beijing research team is accessible on Tencent’s instant messenger WeChat as Microsoft expands its offerings on mobile internet platforms.
THE music streaming world just got a whole lot more competitive, especially in Malaysia, with a new player joining the ranks of Spotify, Deezer and Raku in an already crowded marketplace. On June 26, Tencent Holdings Ltd introduced Joox, its online music streaming service. Tencent is also the owner and operator of the hugely popular WeChat instant messaging software.
TENCENT Holdings Ltd has introduced the Voiceprint feature for its WeChat app, allowing users to log into their accounts through voice recognition, and rolled out more features under its 6.2 update. The speech-activated feature provides users with a new, quick and secure way to access their accounts, the Shenzhen-based company said in a statement. Users can verbally read out a set of unique numbers, with an option of not going through the process of remembering a lengthy password.
The development of e-commerce on Tencent’s WeChat platform has led to questions about the fate of the social media app used by 500 million people, according to Guangzhou’s Time Weekly. Tencent began allowing commercial activities through WeChat’s “Moments” feature, which offers updates of a user’s online friends, beginning last year. The decision has led to thriving business activities that are plagued by counterfeits, fake products and fraud schemes, with one industry insider calling the development similar to that of Taobao, China’s most popular shopping site owned by e-commerce giant Alibaba.
The startup that runs Chinese messaging app WeChat’s movie ticket sales service has announced the completion of a US$105 million series B round of funding, according to QQ Tech. Investors include WeChat maker Tencent, real estate giant Wanda Group, Chinese film investment fund Wenzi Huasha, Shandong Luxin Investment Holdings Group, Shanghai Gangtai Group, and ECapital.
China’s tech giants are working hard to make sure that consumers use their phones to pay for things. Today Alipay Wallet, the Alibaba-affiliated mobile wallet, announced it now enables Chinese users to fulfill municipal fees in 12 cities. Clicking on a new “City Services” tab inside Alipay Wallet draws up a menu with options to book hospital appointments, pay for parking tickets, settle gas and water bills, and even buy gasoline. Users can also look up information regarding traffic and public transportation, and manage other minor bureaucratic tasks.