Radio Netherlands Worldwide

SSO Login

More login possibilities:

Close
  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
Home
Sunday 21 December  
WeChat logo with censorship graphic
Map
Beijing, China
Beijing, China

Inside WeChat: The Future of China’s Hippest New App

Published on : 4 June 2013 - 7:20am | By RNW China Desk ((C) Peek Design)
More about:

WeChat

WeChat graphic

 WeChat is not just a cheap way to chat with friends, but  is also used to exchange information during crises —such as the Sichuan earthquake in April — and to document and investigate injustices and instances of official corruption.

China’s version of Whatsapp offers a free, popular way to communicate—but how much longer can the service remain free of costs and censorship? RNW spoke with WeChat employees about their fears and expectations for the future of China’s hippest new start-up.

WeChat is like Skype, Whatsapp and Facebook all wrapped into one app. And, in true Asian tech fashion, it features some really fun emoticons to boot. Released in January 2011, WeChat has already attracted over 300 million users. They use it to chat with coworkers, share pictures and even find one-night stands. But WeChat is no longer just fun and games, now that media are using it as a new distribution platform.

Media tool
Just like normal users, accredited media can open public accounts and attract followers on WeChat. Even China’s state television broadcaster, CCTV, launched its own WeChat account this April and promoted it on its daily news program - one of the most-watched programs in the world. Media use WeChat to send breaking news and in-depth analysis directly to their followers’ smart phones.

While the traditional news media’s appropriation of WeChat has further boosted its popularity, employees of WeChat fear that the increase in public news accounts has also made the company a target of state control.

Avoiding Weibo’s Fate
In recent years, the Chinese authorities have tightened their grip on the Internet and forced many social media platforms to censor their users. Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, has a team of more than 1000 employees to maintain its in-house censorship regime.

In conversations with WeChat employees, RNW was told that the company is doing its utmost to avoid such a scenario. For now, users enjoy a relatively larger degree of freedom on the platform. Whereas Chinese politicians’ names are censored on Weibo – making it impossible even to praise China’s leader Xi Jinping – users of WeChat can freely discuss these topics. Nevertheless, cautious users still avoid using WeChat to discuss sensitive topics, as they fear that their private communications might be subject to government surveillance.

Just for fun
For WeChat, censoring users’ content would be a costly affair, and it would require more complicated filtering technology. Unlike Sina Weibo, which is text-based, WeChat would have to find a way to filter multimedia content such as voice messages too.

WeChat’s strategy, therefore, is to downplay its new media potential. Ma Huateng, the Chairman of Tencent which developed WeChat, has previously stated that WeChat should emphasize its entertainment function and rely on mobile games to generate revenue.

No Such Thing As a Free Chat
In-house censorship is not the only problem WeChat is facing. Its service and popularity have also attracted attacks from the three largest telecommunication companies and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Because WeChat enables users to make phone calls and send text messages for free via their phone’s Internet connection, the app is devastating the telecommunication companies’ traditional sources of revenue. WeChat's reliance on mobile data services also increases telecommunication providers’ operating cost. The mobile data service fee paid by subscribers, however, does not make up for the cost, let alone generate profits.

The telecommunication companies have long been expecting Tencent Holdings to pay for mobile data service. Although WeChat has promised that its service will remain free, rumors have spread over the past few months that it will have to start charging its users to remain profitable. WeChat employees speculate that Tencent will have to negotiate with the telecommunication companies over dividing profits in the future.

 

Discussion

ohsas 18001 viterbo 18 December 2014 - 2:38pm / USA

Even China’s state television broadcaster, CCTV, launched its own WeChat account this April and promoted it on its daily news program ohsas 18001 viterbo

Online School Diploma 17 December 2014 - 11:50am / USA

It is very good app,i really didn't know about it before reading this article.Great work.Thanks for sharing.
Online School Diploma

Princess Crown 17 December 2014 - 11:26am / USA

There are over 100 artists and DJs throughout the weekend, and something for everyone. In a move to encourage even more families and seniors to the festival, we’ve also introduced free admission for children under 10 and seniors over 65 years of age.’ Princess Crown

anisa 17 December 2014 - 3:01am

Nice work, may god always be in our hearts obatpelangisingperutherbal.wordpress.com

alikhan_095 16 December 2014 - 6:14pm

I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.Affeenity

an easy way to get a girlfriend 16 December 2014 - 2:28pm / USA

There are desks throughout the classroom, but they are all facing in. I want my students to come in every day and find a place to sit. an easy way to get a girlfriend

dan lai 16 December 2014 - 3:55am
jhonalex 15 December 2014 - 9:52pm

Great post, you have pointed out some excellent points, I as well believe this is a very superb website. gravare laser

alikhan_095 15 December 2014 - 3:13pm

411.ca is a Canadian owned and operated online directory that does what few other online search directories do – focus solely on helping Canadians find people and businesses in their neighborhood. Click this link

alikhan_095 15 December 2014 - 7:09am

Great post i must say and thanks for the information. Education is definitely a sticky subject. However, is still among the leading topics of our time. I appreciate your post and look forward to more.www.assistance-bancaire.com

ohsas 18001 livorno 13 December 2014 - 3:31pm / USA

Released in January 2011, WeChat has already attracted over 300 million users. They use it to chat with coworkers, share pictures and even find one-night stands. But WeChat is no longer just fun and games, now that media are using it as a new distribution platform ohsas 18001 livorno

stuart 13 December 2014 - 2:12pm

I definitely enjoying every little bit of it. It is a great website and nice share. I want to thank you. Good job! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contents. Keep up the good work.
RTG no deposit bonus

Anonymous 13 December 2014 - 6:27am / canada
Anonymous 13 December 2014 - 6:27am / canada
Anonymous 12 December 2014 - 2:56pm

Thanks for a very interesting blog. What else may I get that kind of info written in such a perfect approach? I've a undertaking that I am simply now operating on, and I have been at the look out for such info. http://bebetterathleticinfo.metroblog.com/

Anonymous 12 December 2014 - 7:50am

Freestanding baths are great for the larger bathroom and act as a centre feature in the room. We supply a range of freestanding baths that are available in different shapes, sizes and colours and are all supplied by top-flight manufacturer's for your peace of mind. freestanding baths

Olivia 11 December 2014 - 2:02pm / Photography Tuition

Great Southern Coins is the premiere silver maple leaf coins dealer. Shop with confidence and assurance that all silver and gold coins are backed with a US guarantee shipped direct to your door quickly. Visit them online to add to your collection or start one today. Photography Tuition

Anonymous 11 December 2014 - 1:24pm

Freestanding baths are great for the larger bathroom and act as a centre feature in the room. We supply a range of freestanding baths that are available in different shapes, sizes and colours and are all supplied by top-flight manufacturer's for your peace of mind. reconditioned gearboxes

Anonymous 11 December 2014 - 1:06pm

At Exchange Gearboxes we specialise in reconditoned gearboxes, please call us today to find out how we can help you and to find out more about any gearboxes listed below, if you can't find what you are looking for talk to a member of our team as we may be able to help. reconditioned gearboxes

Olivia 13 December 2014 - 7:20am / ????? ????? ??? ?????? callperfume

I am just pretty happy to sign up ones own guestbook these days,Your own feedback and listed below are excellent in my opinion,incidentally I should say also definitely will teach some great supplements for your needs every. בשמים לאישהאתר מכירות callperfume

Anonymous 10 December 2014 - 9:54pm / pakistan

it's really nice and meanful. it's really cool blog. Linking is very useful thing.you have really helped lots of people who visit blog and provide them usefull information. http://girlfriendactivationsystemreviews.com/

Olivia 12 December 2014 - 11:30am / ORDER 2C-T-7 ON-LINE FOR SALE

I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog!!!! ORDER 2C-T-7 ON-LINE FOR SALE

Olivia.P 19 December 2014 - 7:43am / Canada

A very awesome blog post. We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work. home warranty ahs
home warranty alabama
home warranty arkansas

Anonymous 10 December 2014 - 8:50pm

Over the years Loft Masters have grown and have become one of the largest loft conversion companies in London and the Home Counties. Our loft conversion success has been due to a number of key factors and one of those key factors has been the fact that we have a clean trading history, dating back to 2001 thus giving all our existing customers, and of course potential clients as yourselves, PEACE of MIND. loft conversions

Anonymous 9 December 2014 - 7:57am

A Loft Conversion can significantly add value to your property, whilst providing a brand new living space in a once forgotten part of your home. Almost all Lofts can be converted, the type of Loft Conversion you have depends on the type of property you live in and the limitations of the local planning parameters. By matching the existing materials of the property, we can maintain the character and continuity of your home. http://www.create-room.co.uk/

toko dewsa 7 December 2014 - 10:47pm

I am happy to get to the information that is here, and what I can here can give me a broader knowledge, for it my gratitude. saat ini kami jual alat bantu sex di toko alat sex kele

Anonymous 7 December 2014 - 10:03am

Building Regulations Part L1A for new dwellings and Part L2A for new buildings other than dwellings came into force in April 2006, requiring that standards of air tightness in new properties are both achieved and proven by the means of Air leakage Testing and an air leakage test certificate. air tightness testing

jhonalex 6 December 2014 - 11:46pm

nice post, keep up with this interesting work. It really is good to know that this topic is being covered also on this web site so cheers for taking time to discuss this! insurance for unoccupied house

alikhan_095 5 December 2014 - 9:34pm

Gangaur Realtech is a professionally managed organisation specializing in real estate services where integrated services are provided by professionals to its clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying or investing in real estate. I am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject.σκουλαρίκια

Post new comment

Please be reminded all comments must be in English, short and to the point - guideline 250 words. Abusive and inappropriate comments will be removed.

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <p> <br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

RNW on Facebook

RNW Player

Video highlights

Ladies on the move
RNW is keen on featuring inspiring women in our target countries, women who...
What about men?
In many countries, men don't stick around to raise their children. This is...