By Dawn Wang
The traditional short message service appears to be losing users in China to mobile chat applications. While the country is home to more than a billion cellphone users, the proliferation of wifi networks coupled with VOIP services and chat apps providing alternatives to traditional mobile services means providers are seeing significant dents in their previously huge profits.
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) recently reported on a significant decrease in the use of SMS messaging services. According to MIIT, use of outdated person-to-person messaging services has decreased by 11 percent since last year. The rise in chat apps (which don’t charge extortionate fees for trivial data transmission) is certainly one factor in the decline of SMS services.
While chat apps are favored by hundred of millions users in the world today, the made-in-China chat apps are growing by leaps and bounds. The hottest social chatting app, Tencent’s WeChat, used by 300 million worldwide, has become a threat to the state-owned mobile service providers.
There was a suggestion this month that Chinese officials would force Tencent to charge for WeChat in order to subsidise the country’s useless telcos.
The booming technology has created a virtual and growing economy on social chatting application worldwide. Maybe it will soon be the time for WeChat and Weibo to send a final farewell to traditional SMS services.