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WeChat and Weixin

If you target China, you must have heard of WeChat, the most popular Chinese social media platform. But, do you really know WeChat?

WeChat is a mobile-based Chinese social media platform innovated by Tencent, one of the largest Internet service providers. Tencent is in counterpart with Baidu and Alibaba in the China market. The 3 companies are normally referred as the ‘BAT’.

WeChat is called Weixin in its home country and known as WeChat outside of China. Yet WeChat and Weixin are not homogeneous. However, as Weixin gets more fame internationally, its English name is widely used by International marketers. When people talk about WeChat, 99% of the time, they mean Weixin, the one has full functions.

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The Differences – WeChat and Weixin?

There’re huge differences between WeChat and Weixin, rather than the mere difference in translation.

Weixin works on the domestic network and WeChat uses the overseas network. Both networks allow individual users and businesses to apply for the account with self-service. For individual users, the mobile numbers they use will determine the network. The location of the business entity will decide the network for business users.

Business users can easily apply accounts online on both networks on the websites below with relevant business documents.

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  • Weixin account opening (domestic ) : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/
  • Wechat account opening (overseas ) : http://apply.wechat.com

Regardless how simple it may seem to open the official accounts. It is a vain attempt for businesses outside of China to open an overseas account.

If a user registered a Weixin account with a mobile number from China, the user is on the domestic network. He can communicate with any contact on both networks. But he will not be able to follow an official business account created on the overseas network. Whilst the purpose to use WeChat is to better target Chinese audiences, mostly from China, the WeChat (overseas) account is futile.

To testify, we scanned a QR code of a UK official account, with a Weixin account registered with a China mobile number. The QR code was not recognized.

Moreover, WeChat (overseas account )only offers the most basic functions what Weixin carries. Advertising options and other advanced features are not yet provided on the overseas accounts.

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The Conclusion

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In spite of the differences, WeChat and Weixin are both great marketing tools. The boundary in between is likely to blur with the development of Weixin. Tencent added Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, South Korea and Japan to the Weixin network as test regions earlier this year. It may not take long to see more countries added to the list and enjoy the full benefits of Weixin marketing.

Hope we have helped you to learn something useful today.

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