WeChat’s not just about perving on pics of complete strangers in your vicinity or digitally-exchanging hongbao because you’re lazy. Several classmates at Liaocheng University in Shandong Province have used Tencent’s messaging giant to run a surprisingly lucrative fruit business on campus. Tech In Asia reports:
Nearly every day for the past four months, Du Hailong and his five friends have worked together to deliver fresh fruit around Liaocheng University’s campus in Shandong Province, located about 120 kilometers from the capital Jinan.
Students who follow the WeChat subscription account for Weiguofang, the name of Du’s business, can browse through daily deals on various fruits and snacks. After placing orders on WeChat, the Weiguofang team delivers fruit directly to the customers’ immediate location, where cash is collected for payment.
…Weiguofang has grown modestly but steadily since its founding last July. The team keeps its fruit in two storage spaces close to campus, and has begun a working relationship with a nearby farm. With monthly revenues approaching RMB 20,000 (about $3,300), Weiguofang isn’t getting Du and his teammates wealthy. But it’s been successful enough to quench Du’s entrepreneurial ambitions, which he hopes to take further after graduation.
Says Du of his decision: “Before I opened my shop, I was always paying attention to the evolution of public accounts on WeChat. I could see that Tencent really valued them. Public accounts were becoming more open and you could upgrade them. Its API was open as well. Taobao is already too saturated – it’s hard to penetrate and there are a lot of fakes and advertisements. WeChat is a bit more agile. A small entity can still have its own brand. So when I thought the timing was right, I started Weiguofang.”
Large companies such as McDonalds and 7-11 are no strangers to using WeChat to pimp their wares, but now it seems even the smallest-scale businesses are cashing in on the service as well. We figure it won’t be long before the stinky tofu hawker and the chuanr guy follow suit.
[Image cred: Tech In Asia]