While WeChat has become an indispensable part of the lives of hundreds of millions of Chinese users, it is perhaps even more essential for the hundreds of thousands of foreigners living in China.
The massively popular social media app published a report yesterday, showing how “foreign users” were even more active on WeChat than the most-active of locals, sending 60% more messages, making 42% more voice calls and engaging in 13% more video chats.
To come up with this startling finding, WeChat compared users with a non-Chinese interface (assumed to be expats) to users with a Chinese-interface born between 1980 and 1995 (estimated to be the company’s most active age group).
The company also noted that foreigners utilize WeChat for more than just chatting with more than 60% of foreigners using WeChat Pay for things like food deliveries and online shopping. Additionally, foreigners send 10 virtual hongbaos a week on average — which doesn’t sound terribly impressive when you learn that 14.2 billion digital red packets were exchanged over WeChat on Lunar New Year’s Eve alone.
However, foreigners are nothing if not obsessive sticker senders, sharing 45% more stickers/emojis per day than the average local.
Though this may all seem a bit surprising, it really shouldn’t be. While Chinese employ a number of domestic social media apps, like QQ or Weibo, to talk to their friends and check the news, foreigners like to stick to their WeChat comfort zone with international alternatives blocked in China.
While WeChat boasts a mind-boggling 927 million active users, most of those users are in China. The company is looking to expand to other markets, including introducing WeChat Pay into the United States, but mostly in an effort to cater to the millions of Chinese tourists who visit the US each year. Earlier this month, Russia infamously trolled the app, blocking it for a week over some bureaucratic nonsense.
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