Is WeChat: essential for the hardware distributor in China? Today, we continue with our review of the apps that, to us at IBMH, are essential to keep a project of hardware imports from China running smoothly.Sometimes, our clients ask if they really need WeChat as a hardware importer on a trip to China. And now, we present our arguments.
IBMH and apps: chapter by chapter
- 1. In a previous post, we dabbled in the subject of apps that can increase your productivity.
- 2. Then, we explained how VPNs workwhen you come to China.
- 3. Last month, we introducedIBMH’s internal platform/app, PMP, created and designed by us, for our hardware importing clients worldwide.
- 4. Today, we’ve decided to focus on the most-used app in China: WeChat.
WeChat: much more than instant messaging
In 2011, the Chinese telecommunications giant Tencent Group created this mobile instant messenger(smartphones only!) that offers a wealth of different functionalities. It’s not just an app for having agile conversations with friends and contacts, no. WeChat as a hardware importer on a trip to China, you will also use it as a business tool. Want to buy a plane ticket, hire a cleaning service, order a sandwich, pay for a taxi, make a doctor’s appointment, plan a meeting with clients or chat with your family? WeChat does all that and more!
The app, in numbers:
- 1. In January 2017, the number of monthly active users on WeChat reached 846 million.
- 2. 50% of active WeChat users use it at least half an hour per day.
- 3. It’s the number 1 app in China, out of all the types of apps that exist on the market.
What makes it different?
- • It is a closed network: the user chooses which people can see their posts.
- • There are two types of accounts: a personal account or a public platform.
Characteristics of the personal account:
- • WhatsApp-type messaging: send text instant messages, audio and video, as well as videoconferencing.
- • Each user has their own “moment” or portal, like on Facebook but with a closed network.
- • Geolocation, games, and WeChat Pay, a wallet that is commonly used to pay for all sorts of services in China.
Characteristics of a public account or platform:
- • Indispensable for people and/or businesses who want to get established in China.
- • Sends advertising via push notifications, but dialogues in private.
- • Users have access to the pages and consult them however they like (whether to get information or make a purchase).
- • The cost of this account is around 40 euros and is renewed every year.
The next challenge for the company is to make sure the Chinese people CAN’T live without WeChat, that their daily routine requires them to go through the app… and without a doubt, they are well on their way to accomplishing it.
Do I really need WeChat as a hardware importer on a trip to China?
Well, yes and no…
- • …The reality is that, since the increased censoring of VPNs that began in early 2018, it has become practically imperative to have WeChat to communicate with the outside.
- • …It’s very useful to have an easy way to communicate with your company from China. WeChat is a perfect way to do that. You’ll have to download the application and organize your network of contacts before your trip.
- • …Once in China, WeChat will allow you to access all the information that you can access through QR codes, which are very common there. And don’t worry about the language barrier; WeChat offers a simultaneous translation service!
- • …90% of the time, your Chinese counterparts will have WeChat, so having it will allow you to communicate more easily with them. For example, business cards and, in some large companies, even emails are a thing of the past! Information is exchanged via WeChat… it’s a business tool.
- •…A Chinese person will appreciate that you have WeChat to stay in touch.
So… absolutely necessary? No. But definitely convenient.
At IBMH, we’re experts in the furniture and construction hardware industry. Our industry and technology go hand in hand. But also, the management of imports from China forces us to adopt the technology of our hosts.IBMH does this naturally, and we recommend that our clients try to adopt certain native customs during their visits to IBMH, which will come in very handy here. And yes, having WeChat as a hardware importer on a trip to China will help you to enjoy a better experience.