Summary of Why Isn’t There a Product like WeChat in the US?

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Why Isn’t There a Product like WeChat in the US? summary
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8 Applicability

7 Innovation

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WeChat – the all-in-one app created by Tencent – is perhaps the most recognized symbol of Chinese innovation in mobile Internet. It’s like an amalgamation of the 10 most used apps on your phone in one product. Chinese people depend on WeChat for everything, including texting and calling, business and networking, fun and leisure, and making payments and running errands. This raisesthe question: Why is there no all-in-one app in the United States? In this article from online education platform Sanjieke, writer Sun Qinying traces the reason back to America’s dependence on email. She draws interesting comparisons between email usage in the United States and Wechat usage in China, shedding light on why the adoption of email has been so different in the two countries. The reasons why a WeChat exists in China and not in the United States are more complicated than those she outlines in this article. For example, she doesn’t refer to China’s quick transition to mobile Internet development before personal computers were widely adopted. The author also uses the United States to represent the Western world although there will be differences from country to country. Nevertheless, the article is an interesting look at the United States through Chinese eyes, and getAbstract recommends it to anyone interested in cross-cultural comparisons. 

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why the United States doesn’t have a product that corresponds to China’s WeChat and
  • Why email usage is low in China.
 

About the Author

Sun Qinying is a content intern at Sanjieke, a company offering training courses for entrepreneurs and product managers. She is currently an international student at an Ivy League university. 

 

Summary

Many Chinese observers have wondered why the United States hasn’t produced a product resembling WeChat – the Chinese super app that is instant messenger, social media news feed, blog and video platform, e-wallet and financial services, news app, search engine, games, online shopping, ride-hailing, and other life services all rolled into one. WeChat’s chat function is often compared with Facebook Messenger, Line and WhatsApp. Its social functions have similarities to Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Its payment functions are comparable to Paypal, Venmo and ApplePay. While these comparisons are accurate, they diminish WeChat by only emphasizing one aspect of the product at a time rather than as a totality. This invariably results in placing WeChat in a heap of apps labeled “social media platforms.” The problem is that the social media concept isn’t really the heart of the product. WeChat is more of an aggregator tool. It collects all the services that people need – communication, information, entertainment, payments – and provides an entry point to access all of them. So when people look for the US equivalent to WeChat, they should look for a gateway to life services rather than mere social media. While many products may fall into that category, there’s one heavyweight that is often overlooked in the conversation: email. 

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