Have you heard of WeChat, let alone used it?

The number of registered WeChat accounts has reached 1.12 billion, with 440 million monthly active users, the company disclosed yesterday. About half of the users are aged 20 to 29. The 30-39 age group is the second largest.

From Technode.com, linked first found through Benedict Evans


One of those amusing signs you come across when in Asia.....

I remember my first ever trip to China back in 2005/2006. There was a lot different (obviously!) but a lot similar - that t-shirt that many who ever travel to Thailand displaying "Same Same but Different" is remarkably accurate. However, even then there was little trends that stood out - on the couple of occasions that we dropped into a random travel agent to book a flight (we took the completely independent, on-a-whim approach to our trip and booked internal flights as we required during our stay) and noticed one interesting item: the agent worked exclusively from a mobile phone and internet phone services (if I remember correctly, it was something along the lines of Skype and another service I didn't recognise). Remember, this was 2005 or so, way ahead of what was the norm in the West. It struck me, and stuck to me the implications of this - that most likely I may be seeing something new, disruptive and pretty likely to eventually appear back home in Ireland. It's slowly making inroads and of course changing the landscape for numerous businesses (media and operators, alike).

Asia challenges your perceptions in many ways - sheep being delivered via the roof of the bus we were about to board to a nearby town!

WeChat (iOS app store link) is one of those monster services coming out of Asia that is something to look out for. It's a cross between Facebook, Twitter, Hailo, dating service, Amazon, games, you name it. In short, it's swallowing it all - and while it has over a billion registered accounts (including 440 million - almost the same as the population of the EU), almost no-one here will have heard about it. Want some inspiration for a new app or service - I suggest downloading it as well as many of the others that are vying for the lead in Asia.

Examples are:Tencent, Viber, Zalo, LineHappy researching! If you want to connect, mail me and I'm happy to link for some experimentation...

We're only on the cusp of people doing more and more from their phones. The likes of apps such as Hailo are training people into the idea of making payments using their phones and it can only be expected to increase as more and more companies and start-ups make this approach. Interesting times ahead!

Neal McQuaid