How Communication Apps Become Promotional Platforms for Brands that Bring Billion Revenue?

Marina Astapchik
IT Trends Research Specialist
July 14, 2015

While some mobile app development companies were looking elsewhere, others focused their efforts on communication apps. Mobile apps for messaging and social communicating started to get a lot more interesting. Mobile app development has gone away from just offering a way to communicate and is offering a promotional platform for personal content sharing and spending money. Meanwhile, according to Digi-Capital, in 2014 revenue from mobile Internet totaled to $ 300 billion and could be $ 850 billion by 2018.

Released in 2011 by a Chinese investment holding company Tencent Holdings Limited, WeChat, or Weixin in China, a mobile app for messaging and SMS texting, has 549 million active users (appr. 400 million in China) and 1.1 billion registered accounts worldwide.

What is all the fuss about WeChat? This is the case when a mobile app development company managed to cleverly build an entire app ecosystem with communication offerings in its heart. Traditionally, mobile application development risks hurting user experience, when they are trying to do much. WeChat mobile app has been remade into a promotional platform for increased personal content sharing and spending money. Nowadays, Forbes estimates the mobile app to be worth $100 billion.

Let's look a little bit into details. As for user base of WeChat as a group, 86.2% of Chinese users are young people aged 18-36 who mostly fall into four categories by occupation: private enterprise, self-employed, student, and public sector. WeChat is 3d most popular mobile app on Android regarding face time spent by Chinese mobile app users. On the average, the Chinese spend appr. 209min per month using this very mobile app, making for 7% of total time spent using their phones monthly.

What are the ways WeChat is excelling as a mobile app within China?

1. WeChat is not only a mobile app for messaging and social communicating with a broad package of capabilities but also a social service. To start making early revenue from the massive WeChat user base, Tencent started with simple in-app purchase items such as special 'Hello Kitty' sticker packs. Then, mobile app instant messaging capabilities also included text, voice message and walkie-talkie. WeChat lets users share photos and videos as well as make video and voice calls. As one of the brightest points of WeChat, people find an option to read news. Numerous Chinese media offer subscription accounts on WeChat, through which they send daily digests to subscribers. Users are not just redirected to websites but moved to a standalone webpage available through WeChat's in-app browser. The mobile app is considered to be in a few steps from turning into an outstanding reading service.

Apart from it, mobile app development for WeChat offers nearly everyone in China to register for a public account. Many local bloggers use it as a primary channel for publishing.

2. it's not just a messaging app, it is a gaming platform. Mobile application development companies find gaming a very beneficial revenue generating offering. Thus, after 3 months of launching gaming elements, WeChat registered 570 million downloads. A little bit later, there was signed a deal with Candy Crush Saga maker King. The deals signifies the power of WeChat as a gateway for an international app to break into China, on the one hand. On the other hand, it reveals a part of the commercial plan of mobile application development companies to make communication apps platforms for third parties to build apps on.

3. WeChat is a m-commerce frontier and a mobile wallet. WeChat as a mobile app has big ambitions allowing users to connect their bankcards to the apps and value from transactional products and services. Since payment capabilities were introduced within WeChat, transactions became sophisticated. Here, mobile app development started from stickers and in-game purchases. Now, WeChat is forecasted to earn up to 9.6. billion yuan this year. Mobile app users can buy much more things. Thus, one of the most popular features of this mobile app is an ability to order and pay for a taxi within the app. When riding a taxi in Beijing, you can hear non-stop voice message order requests on the smartphones of taxi drivers.This taxi service was integrated following Tencent's $115 million investment into the leading taxi app. The developers also encourage users to transfer their money from their saving accounts to a money-market fund where it can gain from a far higher interest rate.

What else accelerates WeChat adoption as an online storefront? Another strategic investment of this mobile app development is a stake in a Chinese group buying and local review company. It makes possible for WeChat users to learn reviews, share restaurant locations and shop within the mobile app.

4. WeChat is a good professional communication channel for entrepreneurs and businesses. It is an apparent social norm to reach out to professional contacts through WeChat all over China. Besides, WeChat's integration with LinkedIn seems to be a win for both the parties. Users can link their LinkedIn account to their WeChat account. Now, it is much easier to communicate and network with professionals one cares about.

Summing it all up, WeChat as a mobile app, offers a recipe how communication apps become promotional platforms for brands and bring billions revenue. The top ingredients of this recipe are developing a mobile app as a comprehensive entity and investing into further mobile application development to add to the family. WeChat can be viewed as a model to aspire and inspire mobile application development to develop successful mobile app ecosystems. Get inspired!

Industries and Technology Areas

Industries: IT

Technology Areas: mobile application development, communication apps

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