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Outside of China, WeChat is a fish out of water

Unlike many other messaging apps, WeChat does not provide end-to-end encryption

Elliott Zaagman | Tech In Asia 

Photo: Shutterstock

For those of us who live in China, using 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, is like a fish out of water. Here are a few of the key issues that may provide some insight as to why is struggling outside of the Chinese market:

Local storage

All message history in 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, 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.

Other nuisances

Push Notifications: seems to only provide push notifications for new messages when the app is open.

Lack of a “follow” vs “friend” option: doesn’t offer this.

The 5,000-friend limit: For those who would like to use as a more public platform, they are limited to 5,000, hampering the reach of an individual account. 

Final thoughts

Looking at the problem they’re having in their expansion overseas, however, highlights broader trends that encompass other when they globalize: mainly, just how different the internet ecosystem is in versus elsewhere in the world, and the widely different cultural and political expectations that global markets have for 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

First Published: Mon, October 16 2017. 08:32 IST