CES Asia Trends : East Meets West Part 1 – WeChat
In May of this year, in Shanghai China, the very successful inaugural year of CES Asia welcomed 250 exhibitors and 22,000 attendees. The show was open to consumers on the last day so that they could see the latest in technology that would soon be a part of their lives. CES Asia covered 8,500 square feet of exhibit space and while a smaller show then it’s US cousin, the Exhibitors included large multinational companies like China Mobile, JD.com, Audi, Samsung, Hisense and Twitter. While both East and West regions share common technology and consumer behavior trends, CES Asia demonstrated what specific categories in consumer technology are exploding in the East and how they are evolving in a different way. Much is to be learned about the successful engagements of these platforms and how they are being monetized. We’ll be covering a number of those trends in these newsletters.
Our Digital Life in Messenger Apps
When it comes to social, the Chinese company Tencent is the leader in instant messaging with QQ, (over 800 million registered users) and QQ International, which has translation features.  China’s social commerce apps, Mogujie and Melishuoare, are creating large quantities of content, community and commerce (15MM+ Photos, 200MM Users and $2B GMV)). When it comes to virtual communities with more than 100 million active users China has six companies in the top 15 with QQ at number 2 after Facebook and WeChat at number 4. In the global marketplace WeChat is the big story, the “world’s largest stand alone messaging app by monthly active users”.
If you haven’t heard of WeChat or haven’t downloaded it, it’s important to explore. With WeChat, you start to see the growth of an ecosystem where mobile messaging becomes a central hub to all parts of the Chinese digital life. While the US sees the ebb and flow of a number of social media platforms, each delivering on particular social, mobile and online behavior, WeChat provides a single entity for all that engagement plus it sits on top of a transactional platform. While the west goes to a number of apps to buy tickets, call a car service, message a friend, WeChat and it’s data, sit in one singular universe, driving a number of synergies. Notifications are also another key factor in all these social mobile solutions and stand to drive to more direct response over time. Rather then hopping around to different apps with different calls to action, WeChat drives all engagement. At Facebook’s 2015 developer conference Mark Zuckerberg declared that Facebook is now “a family of apps” and that he’s inviting over 40 developers to build companion apps in Facebook messenger; a strategy that is clearly influenced by WeChat’s direction, to keep all the mobile engagement in the Facebook ecosystem. And as the next generation of mobile Internet users comes on board, data is pointing to that onboarding occurring within a messaging platform. 
1. “Tencent – Investor Relations – Financial Releases – 2014“. Tencent. 14 August 2014.
2. Mary Meeker Internet Trends Report 2015
3. Forbes, ‘Live Blog From F8:Zuckerberg Spells Out Facebook Strategy’ by George Anders
4. Mary Meeker Internet Trends Report 2015