10 years of WeChat history

Since 2011, WeChat has revolutionized the way Chinese people communicate and use digital devices. We want to celebrate a decade of WeChat influence with this EGGsist insight, which dives into the growth strategy that led to its milestones and aspirational achievements

Let’s check how this APP grew to be one of the most popular social media globally, scaling from 0 to more than over 1 billion users in just ten years!


And the story goes…

It all started with an email Allen Zhang 张小龙 sent to Tencent CEO, Pony Ma 马化腾… 

January 2011

A Social-tech Goliath is born!

On January 21st, 2011, Weixin 微信 was officially launched in China as a simple messaging and photo-sharing app. Can you guess how many engineers were involved in this “bold” project? Just seven! A few months after launch, it became an instant hit, and in the short span of 433 days, it reached over 100 million registered users!

A couple of months later, some features debuted online like optimized video clips sharing and the famous and highly discussed “shake” a.k.a. “find nearby”.

Just shake your smartphone and discover new friends around you can chat with!

April 2012: 

A new feature at the center stage: Moments 

From that “moment”, users could share their experiences, memories through messages, photos, and videos.

Tencent WeChat goes global

It is the exact time when the team realizes the importance of expanding their business internationally. By changing the name from Weixin to WeChat, this intention was quite explicit: now the APP is available in English, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, and Portuguese languages. 

July 2012:

Tencent opens up WeChat to brands accounts

In the same year, Wechat Official Account was launched. It was also a unique occasion for international businesses to leap on board and interact with a massive audience.

How could brands encourage new potential consumers to follow them? By scanning QR codes, of course. 

 After only 6 months, a 200 million registered user target was achieved. Its communication capabilities were enhanced by video and audio call features.

WeChat moments and Official Account

August 2013:

Welcome to a new era of digital payment!

In August, WeChat Pay finally debuted online: the mobile payments feature was launched, which turn WeChat into one of the biggest cashless payment apps!

At the end of the year, WeChat promoted the app worldwide with a big campaign with TV ads and out-of-home billboards, involving star system celebrities such as the famous football player Messi.

January 2014:

Digital Hongbaos gamble 

Alongside payment features, WeChat developers thought of a simple, yet effective way to rethink one of the oldest Chinese traditions: digital hongbao (red envelopes) straight on your smartphone! The first try skyrocketed: more than half a billion RMB worth of red envelopes were sent out.

May 2014:

Another big move for the Chinese tech giant: WeChat store

Another feature is about to rollout: it’s time for WeChat stores to shine. From May 2014, any brand account can open its built-in shop.

January 2015 

A new promotional form to compete for users attention

That year started with the launch of ads inside the Moments section: brands can now build promotions!

In March, WeChat reached the half a billion users milestone.

Fun fact: over 400 million people are using Mini programs daily by 2020. What is even more exceptional is that the annual transaction via mini-programs exceed US$ 240 billion 


Overseas, let’s scan and pay!

WeChat pay goes global: now Chinese tourists can scan QR codes and pay just as in their home country when traveling overseas.

January 2017

Did you say mini-programs?

Mini programs launched, this sophisticated and innovative feature transformed WeChat as OS per se. In just a few months, thousands of brands started building their mini-program. 2017 is also important because WeChat launched its search engine.


Can’t get enough of WeChat!

WeChat continues to improve, establish records and get over one billion monthly active users on the platform.

WeChat history part 1 from 2015 til 2021


The Super APP empowered moments with its new Instagram-like stories feature.

January 2020

Let’s make…a video with WeChat Channel

WeChat broadens its horizons with a new feature labeled “Channel”, where users can explore media accounts, videos from brands, stars, and celebrities.

Last but not least: WeChat made its search engine more powerful than ever by the acquisition of Sougou, and reached over 1.17 billion.

January 2021:

Mission accomplished

The Super APP gets more social vibes with the new Live Streaming feature. Will it be the start of a new era for the “chatting” app?

Here’s the last fun fact: since 2011, WeChat splash screen, called Blue Marble, is a photo of the planet earth shot during the Seventies, showing the African continent. This has never changed until 2017. Now, the Chinese version of the app shows the eastern Asian continent picture, taken by a Chinese satellite.

Nowadays, WeChat plays a fundamental role in Chinese people’s daily life.

  • Advertising
  • Store
  • Payments
  • Cross-border eCommerce
  • Search
  • KOL marketing
  • Customer service
  • Moments

Those are just some of the main functionalities offered by the app.

So, what’s your take? 

You can’t miss the unique opportunity to connect with over one billion potential customers, build more interactive and personalized shopping experiences, that is eventually what Chinese consumers are eager for!

With EGGsist, you can start turning your brand into a WeChat superstar by building your unique identity on the app and get in touch with thousands of potential customers.

Plus, you can push content directly through programmatic ads on the sections built-in WeChat, or sell within your store. Possibilities are endless!

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10 years of WeChat history

12.12 is more than another shopping festival

Between Christmas and Double 11, the shopping season secret is  Double 12 (双十二). 

So many brands are ignoring this big opportunity, but here’s why you should get this commercial festival into consideration:

12.12 makes e-tailers and C2C users to take advantage of the double11 sales craze. eCommerce platforms such as Secoo and Taobao promoted their product with heavy discounts and hot deals.

This year 12.12 promoted heavily O2O, Chinese users got big discounts on Alipay digital payment super app. Kantar reports a steady 19% growth in online to offline platforms in China.

We can’t forget the live streaming. This year Douyin organized a 12.12 dedicated all-day event. 12.12 related videos were played over 750 times during one day.

Together with Christmas (圣诞节), 12.12 is the last 2020 shopping festival, and it’s just 8 weeks before Chinese New Year (春节), which on 2021 will be celebrated on February 12th.

For retailers & online platforms, now it’s the best time to get ready for CNY and all the upcoming shopping festivals! 

Discover the key strategies and platforms to be successful, get now our FREE report #beyondCNY

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12.12 is more than another shopping festival

Double 11 2020 impressive record

Double 11 2020 has been extremely successful. Performances have surpassed expectations, over 74 bn US$ GMV were generated. All payments were processed through Alipay. And Over 30k international brands were involved, this was the biggest online shopping ever in the world. 

Over 2 million new products were being launched, twice as much compared to 2019 

11.11 confirms being the best moment for brands to launch new products and increase their awareness. This year the key was luxury, instead of being a discount-centric festivity, big brands like Coach, Hermes, Kenzo and many more took part in the biggest shopping event ever.

11.11 is looking more like a long-awaited event since big stars are taking part in Single’s day’s 2020 celebration. In 2019 Taylor Swift amazed the Chinese audience with her performance, this year Katy Perry and Jackie Chan will take part in the show aired just a few hours before 11.11 start. 

Livestreaming is becoming international. During this year’s 11.1, celebrities as former basketball player Magic Johnson and world-wide famous singer Taylor Swift have broadcast their own live streaming sessions.

This was by far the biggest online event ever, but this was a great time for retail shops too: over 210k offline retails participated and offered special coupons via the Alipay app.

Plus, the biggest Chinese fintech super app will help offline retailers to attract customers with special discounts in over 100 cities.

That’s why your marketing strategy can’t miss in Inland China, want to learn more? Just contact us!

Source: Alizila

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Double 11 2020 impressive record

There’s more beyond Chinese New Year – Get our Business FREE guide

The Chinese market is an unmissable opportunity for brands aiming to expand: the explosion of the upper-middle-class in China will be the driving force for luxury brands, leading to an almost doubling of luxury spending by 2025, when Chinese consumers are expected to account for 40% of the global luxury market…

#BeyondCNY is a comprehensive report aiming to give you a deeper overview of Chinese Festivals, digital & social trends, and be on the right path of the Chinese consumers digital journey.

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There’s more beyond Chinese New Year – Get our Business FREE guide