Tour and travel professionals should take note: WeChat has become a business necessity, not a social networking convenience. An article last week in the South China Morning Post made this clear as it detailed data that confirm the app—it hit the marketplace in 2011—as an essential component in promoting and selling and promoting their product to the world’s largest travel market. Some of the major points made in the article:
—At the recent Active America China in Portland, a We Chat video showed panhandlers accepting donations through We Chat.
—WeChat is already the dominant app in the country with 889 million monthly active users.
—Nearly 90 per cent of more than 20,000 surveyed web users in China seeing the app as their top choice for daily work communication.
—87.7 per cent of WeChat users use the app for daily work communication. Phones, text messages and fax machines were used by 59.5 per cent, and email by 22.6 per cent.
—About 57 per cent of the surveyed WeChat users say their new contacts on the app are work related.
—A growing number of Chinese business people now scan each other’s quick respond codes (QRCs) to connect on WeChat instead of exchanging name cards during meetings.
—Office workers share files through WeChat rather than using emails. Even conference calls can be made anytime, anywhere via WeChat as long as there is an internet connection.
—WeChat users spent on average 66 minutes a day on the app in 2016, a significant increase from the previous year.
—A third (34 percent) of WeChat users spent on average more than four hours on the app everyday last year compared with 16.3 per cent the year earlier.
—Summing up the app’s integral role in the daily business life of China, the South China Morning Post wrote, “Some people may try to diversify away from WeChat because of their extensive use of the app, said Ma Shicong, analyst with the Beijing-based internet consultancy Analysys. ‘But most have to stay because where can they run to when their entire social connections are in one app?’ she said.”