Tencent to focus WeChat on markets where competition isn't entrenched

Tencent last year launched its biggest marketing campaign to promote WeChat outside of China

China's Tencent isn't letting up on international marketing for its WeChat mobile messaging app, but signaled its plans to avoid competing in markets where rivals such as WhatsApp already have a strong user base.

Growth for WeChat, also known as Weixin, continues to remain strong, with its monthly active users reaching 355 million in the fourth quarter, Tencent said in an earnings call on Wednesday. The high growth marks a 121 percent increase in user growth year-over-year.

Many of WeChat's users come from Tencent's home market in China, where the product has become one of the most popular mobile apps. But starting last year, Tencent launched its biggest international marketing push for WeChat, promoting the app in 15 other markets including Brazil, India and Mexico.

Tencent spent up to US$200 million last year on WeChat's overseas promotion, said James Mitchell, the company's chief strategy officer.

"For 2014, we will probably be spending a similar amount," he said. "But we will be targeting it more on markets, where we see traction and opportunity."

He added that the global campaign took off in certain markets, but other countries proved "less hospitable," without elaborating.

WeChat is just among several mobile messaging apps vying to attract users across the world. In February, Facebook announced it would buy rival WhatsApp, in the hope it could grow its user base from 450 million to 1 billion.

Similar messaging apps such as Japan's Line and Korea's KakaoTalk are also expanding across Asia, where Tencent's WeChat is hoping to gain users as well.

The Chinese company, however, expects it will take time for WeChat to gain more prominence. New apps, no matter how good they are, will struggle to make "dramatic progress" in markets already dominated by a rival product, Mitchell said.

Tencent will instead focus on markets where WeChat is already gaining ground, or on "greenfield markets" that have less competition, he added. Mitchell noted that WhatsApp is well established in Germany, Spain and Mexico.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobilemobile applicationsTencent

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?