They all have green logos, all are distribution centers of social networking with voice and text messaging, and all have significant market share in their respective markets. WeChat from China, WhatsApp from the U.S. and Line from Japan are three representatives of worldwide instant messaging software. WeChat and Line are all encompassing with their features while WhatsApp focuses on simplicity.
WeChat and Line have a variety of functions, from video calls to mobile payments, catering for many aspects of our modern society. However, WhatsApp from the U.S, is different from WeChat and Line in the sense that ‘simplicity’ is the driving force behind their app. It has no food delivery services, no ads.
China can’t get enough of QR Codes
People in China are accustom to using QR Codes and are seen on advertisements, brochures, menus, business cards, coupons, train seats and even behind the door of toilets. Most of the Apps have QR Code scanning functions. QR Codes printed on ads or brochures represent a certain application. China’s WeChat, Weibo, and others apps have their own QR Codes. QR Codes are not only for marketing but also can be used to add friends, pay for goods or browse websites. Credit cards are often not accepted by the Chinese public because QR Codes provide a much easier way for mobile payment and can create more business opportunities.
How apps can cure a lonely heart in China
WeChat and QQ are widely-used I.M. applications. Both have the function of finding “People Nearby”. The function lists nearby strangers, showing the pictures they posted to the timeline, sent friend request, etc. People in Asia often use this function to help increase their social network base.
The UI of “Public account” becomes the model of all applications.
WeChat also makes the concept of “Public Account” popular. The public account provides opportunities to promote brands and public figures a platform to interact with the public. Organisations including banks, blogger, hospitals, shopping malls and government agencies have their own public accounts. In fact, many companies stop developing their own apps or websites and focus on operating their public accounts instead.
Users can send a variety of messages; including words, pictures, voices, etc, to these public accounts and get automatic or manual replies. The similar windows function as chat room but also provide the click menu as website categories at the bottom of window. It just like like browse website at same time by simply switch it.
All functions in normal chat mode are also available in the public account. WeChat can event turn voice messages into texts and then send the messages to the third-party server of the public account. You can also subscribe to some media channels on the public account and the interface looks similar to the RSS reader.
It can be seen that American local apps divide the entire service into several independent applications of single functions. The design concept of American apps is more like “Simple is better” In contrast, applications from China are continually trying to aggregate more functions on core business. It could be designed for attracting public attention or expanding the market.