Ever heard of WeChat, the mobile video, voice and chat app, which is synonymous with social media in Asia? This is actually a very interesting app that has taken a different route to how users interact with the app. In addition to instant messaging (chat) which standard chat apps all have, users of WeChat can make voice and video calls to contacts that are also on WeChat. There is also a walkie talkie feature, which allows a group of people to speak with each other; these all work over the internet, so regardless of their location, everyone within the group can speak to each other.
If you are looking to connect with people who are geographically close to you; WeChat’s ‘People Nearby’ feature allows WeChat users to view and send a message to other WeChat users within the same location. However the other user will have to accept an invite before you can become connected with them. It is possible to disable this feature if you do not want to be seen by other WeChat users.
Perhaps the most fascinating thing about WeChat is its Official Accounts; a platform that allows Content providers, Service providers, businesses and brands as a whole to create mobile apps which can be accessed by WeChat users; with this, there is really no need to download individual apps for your favourite brands especially if your phone does not have a lot of storage. These apps can be used to promote products and services, as well as aid discovery of these products. Brands such as OLX Nigeria, Jobberman and Careers24 use their Official Accounts to show items for sale and available job listings respectively. It is possible to manage and pay for your DSTV subscription using the DSTV Africa Official Account. Other interesting Official Accounts out there include The Beat fm 99.9 where you can listen to live radio and the R2TV account where you can watch live television right from your mobile.
The opportunity with the is that a business (whether large or small) can easily build a mobile app for free and be easily discovered by Nigerians using WeChat, unlike the case where Nigerian apps are not noticed in other mainstream appstores. WeChat is not simply an instant messaging application; instead it is a platform that aids entrepreneurs and established businesses in their aim to deliver their services to an increasingly mobile market.