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WeChat has more than a billion users. So why don’t you know it?

As an agency with partner offices and clients in China, we’ve seen firsthand the impact WeChat has had in changing how consumers and brands communicate. And since we’ve been steeped in the technology for some time, we get questions from clients, prospects and marketers almost daily. So we’ve put together this primer to showcase just how big WeChat truly is.

WeChat, known as Weixin in Chinese, is China’s primary social and messaging app. As of September 2018, it had reached 1.08 billion monthly active users with 90% of those accounts being in China. For reference, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp reportedly have 1.4 billion and 1.5 billion active users respectively as of 2017.

Most of the social networks or communication platforms you may be familiar with are not accessible in China. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Whatsapp and Instagram are censored or blocked by the Government of China. This is sometimes referred to as “The Great Firewall of China” although this doesn’t apply to Hong Kong and Macau.

In China WeChat dominates, but is seeing increased competition by other digital players who are also expanding their offerings.




Tencent  腾讯

WeChat was founded in 2011 by one of Asia’s largest companies: Tencent. It started out as a messaging service and has transformed into an app where you can do everything from payments to hailing a ride or even booking a doctor’s appointment.

WeChat Features Include:

Social feed (moments)
Apps (mini-program)
wechat user growth over time

By the numbers

What makes WeChat impressive is the sheer amount of engagement it sees largely driven by necessity as a result of censorship.

People open WeChat moments each day

(during which they check it more than 10 times)
Audio & video calls were made every day
Of WeChat’s monthly users are now over the age of 55
(roughly 6% of its users)
Wechat pay use in 2018 vs 2017
Messages sent on a daily basis on the platform
(18%+ than in 2017)

Games take up 28% of all mini programs, followed by life services and e-commerce, according to QuestMobile

Users are active on WeChat mini programs every day
as of August

That makes its ecosystem half the size of the Apple App Store, which recorded 2.1 million apps in April.

What’s to come?

We foresee more of an emphasis on Mini programs (based on recent UI updates) read more here.

It’s rumored that Tencent will partner with Japan’s Line, a chat app, to offer mobile payments, read more here.

Tencent recently announced they will be launching a voice assistant called “Xiaowei” read more here.

If you’re a brand looking to reach Chinese consumers, whether they’re in China or elsewhere, then WeChat is the place to find them interacting digitally. And we’re the agency to help you activate it. For a personalized plan on how to launch WeChat for your brand, email us at