If you still have that infant image of WeChat as just a voice messaging app, then let me tell you WeChat has transformed itself in almost a web universe, and this owes to its popularity in China. This is the primary reason, and the secondary reason, we can say is the ban on social media and networking giants like Facebook and Google in China.
WeChat, has been developed by the parent company Tencent, to play the role of a web browser in itself. the app is so advanced in its features, that even Facebook seems primitive in front of it. To compare by numbers, WeChat app has over 900 million monthly active users, which is not far from the number monthly active users Facebook has. Moreover, the average daily time spent on the app rose to 66 minutes in 2016 — Facebook’s daily average is 50 minutes.
You must be still wondering about the features that WeChat offers that rival even Facebook. As I told you, it is a web browser in itself and performs multiple functions at a time:
WeChat contains ten million third-party apps. Yes, it is a mobile apps-within-an-app kind of thing in which anyone can create an account and avail its services. Any organization or company can make an app on WeChat, known as "official account". This opens a platform of multiple services for you which includes direct messaging, voice messaging, payments, and location.
Some apps even test their apps by launching them on WeChat first, before the official launch. The additional services that WeChat provides are as follows:
> Payments feature
> Hail a cab
> Manage your credit card bills
> Check the news
And much more..
The advancement that WeChat has come up with in just four years of its origin is commendable. Even Facebook took inspiration from it and launched Messenger with some advanced services like free calling and location.
I think all these are enough of the reasons to justify the popularity of WeChat in China, where all other major social media apps are banned.
This makes it that much easier to communicate in Chinese.
It's that simple. That one little feature was 99% of the reason why it was so successful. Westerners always like to claim that WeChat is a copy of Whatsapp. Which is absurd since texting has been around since the telegram. It's Whatsapp that copied WeChat's idea to send audio clips in lieu of actual text.
Chinese language input is still far from perfect, and many from the older generations still haven't mastered it. It's particularly difficult for poorly educated, non-Mandarin speakers cause when they try to sound words out with pinyin, it doesn't really go well. Just imagine all the poor Southerners trying to type 牛奶 as "niu Lai" and wondering why it's not coming up.
The voice recording button solves this problem entirely. Now you don't even need to be fully literate to use WeChat.