For those of us who live in China, using WeChat
becomes so natural that we often don’t notice some of its flaws, like a fish that doesn’t realize it is swimming in the water since it has never left the river. But outside of China, WeChat
is like a fish out of water. Here are a few of the key issues that may provide some insight as to why WeChat
is struggling outside of the Chinese market:
All message history in WeChat
is stored locally on your device. If your phone is lost or stolen, losing all that data can cause a real annoyance.
Security, privacy, and transparency
Unlike many other messaging apps, WeChat
does not provide end-to-end encryption. Instead, they employ transport encryption so that the message is encrypted between the user and WeChat’s servers.
While many Chinese people will sign up for public accounts under their own names in order to publish content to subscribed followers, this requires a Chinese ID card number.
Push Notifications: Wechat
seems to only provide push notifications for new messages when the app is open.
Lack of a “follow” vs “friend” option: WeChat
doesn’t offer this.
The 5,000-friend limit:
For those who would like to use WeChat
as a more public platform, they are limited to 5,000, hampering the reach of an individual account.
Looking at the problem they’re having in their expansion overseas, however, highlights broader trends that encompass other Chinese internet companies
when they globalize: mainly, just how different the internet ecosystem is in China
versus elsewhere in the world, and the widely different cultural and political expectations that global markets have for apps
that play such an intimate role in their lives.
This is an edited excerpt from Tech In Asia. You can read the original article here