Summary of Dissecting China's Super App: WeChat

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Tencent’s WeChat, also known as the “super app” or “app for everything,” provides various services and functions, including instant messaging, social network news feeds, matchmaking, business services, e-commerce, life services and financial services. Writer Zhang Hongpan from the online media and learning platform I’m a Product Manager discusses the success and the challenges of WeChat and tries to envision a product that could make WeChat obsolete. Since he wrote the article in 2016, Tencent has tackled some of the problems he mentions. An increased focus on incorporating games has given users more options to spend their time in the app. Limiting advertising in the Moments feed helped WeChat keep Moments clean. And QQ – Tencent’s first instant messaging product that had become outdated – made a surprise comeback after Tencent redesigned and revamped the app. Now, the younger generation embraces QQ as the “new product to replace WeChat.” Thus fortified, Tencent seems to be holding its ground after all. Challenging Tencent’s position in China’s social networking industry may be even harder than Zhang predicted. getAbstract recommends this article to software developers, product managers and anyone curious about the future of social media and social networking in China.

About the Author

Zhang Hongpan is a product manager with entrepreneur experience. He writes for I’m a Product Manager, an online media and learning platform and forum for product management and business operation in the tech industry. 



Tencent’s WeChat app incorporates various functions, including:

  • Instant messaging and phone calls – You can send and receive text and voice messages, images, documents and short videos.  You can call other WeChat users and ring people who are not on WeChat at their phone number.
  • Social media – A Facebook-like news feed called Moments shows updates from your social network.
  • Matchmaking – You can view other users who are close by. The app’s shake function matches users with people who are shaking their phones at the same time. You can float a virtual message in a bottle and get in contact with people who express interest after picking up the bottle.  
  • Media platform – WeChat wemedia accounts are blog and video channels rolled into one. Users can subscribe to these accounts or create their own. WeChat enterprise and service accounts give users access to a company’s services, allowing users to make appointments or purchase other company’s products directly in WeChat. 
  • Access external services via third-party operators...