What does China use instead of WhatsApp?

Answered by Tom Adger

In China, instead of using WhatsApp, people primarily rely on a messaging app called WeChat, also known as Weixin in Chinese. WeChat is a multi-purpose app that offers a wide range of features beyond just messaging, making it extremely popular among Chinese users. It was developed by Tencent, a leading Chinese technology company, and has gained immense popularity since its launch in 2011.

WeChat functions as a comprehensive social messaging platform, allowing users to send text messages, voice messages, photos, videos, and even make voice and video calls. It supports both individual and group chats, making it easy for people to connect with their friends, family, and colleagues.

One of the standout features of WeChat is its Moments feature, which resembles a social media feed. Users can share posts, photos, and videos on their Moments, allowing their friends to like and comment on the posts. It has become a popular way for people to share updates about their lives, similar to how people use Facebook or Instagram.

WeChat also offers a range of additional features that make it an all-in-one app for many Chinese users. These features include:

1. WeChat Pay: This feature enables users to link their bank accounts or credit cards to the app and make mobile payments. WeChat Pay has become widely accepted in China, with users using it to pay for various services, including online shopping, dining out, and even transferring money to friends.

2. Official Accounts: WeChat provides a platform for businesses, media outlets, and celebrities to create official accounts. Users can follow these accounts to receive updates, promotions, and news. Many companies use WeChat Official Accounts as a marketing tool to engage with their customers.

3. Mini Programs: WeChat Mini Programs are small applications that can be accessed within the WeChat app without the need to download or install them separately. These mini programs offer a wide range of functionalities, such as ordering food, booking movie tickets, or even playing games.

4. WeChat Wallet: In addition to WeChat Pay, WeChat Wallet allows users to store their digital money and manage their finances within the app. Users can link their bank accounts and credit cards to their WeChat Wallet, making it convenient to make payments and manage their expenses.

5. QR Code Scanner: WeChat has integrated a QR code scanner, which is widely used in China for various purposes. Users can scan QR codes to add friends, make payments, join groups, or access exclusive content.

In my personal experience, I have found WeChat to be an essential tool for communication and daily life in China. When I lived in China for a few months, almost everyone I met used WeChat as their primary means of communication. It was not just limited to messaging; people used it to pay for meals, split bills, and even transfer money to each other. The convenience and versatility of WeChat amazed me, as it offered a seamless integration of various features into one app.

To summarize, China uses WeChat as a popular alternative to WhatsApp. WeChat goes beyond just messaging, providing a comprehensive platform for social networking, mobile payments, and various other functionalities. Its widespread adoption in China has made it an integral part of daily life for millions of users.