WeChat, a new mobile social communication tool supporting voice, video, photo and text interaction, has confirmed its place in the African market with the announcement of cross platform compatibility for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Symbian and BlackBerry smartphones.
The service, available for free via a proprietary application, enables users to chat individually or in groups using a mobile data or a WiFi connection. To use, WeChat requires handset owners to undergo a subscription process via Facebook or mobile number.
Founded by Hong Kong-listed Internet company Tencent and supported by Naspers, globally, the service has over 50 million users, having grown exponentially since its launch in 2011.
WeChatâ€™s recent introduction to the African mobile environment is yet another exciting development for this unique offering believes Brett Loubser, Managing Director WeChat South Africa. â€œWe are extremely enthusiastic about WeChatâ€™s prospects for growth in Africa. Traditionally, mobile users tend towards services that enable them to engage in conversation without restrictive costing models. The fact that WeChat is a free service equipped with unparalleled voice, video, photo and text sharing functionality bodes well for its continued progress on the continentâ€.
In regions where access to electronic payment facilities is limited WeChat also offers an elegant solution, adds Loubser.
â€œWeChat is freely downloadable. This means that any user on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Symbian and BlackBerry enabled devices can access the application without the need for a payment mechanism such as a credit card. This, we believe, is a significant differentiator within the African context where commonly used payment systems often deviate from globally accepted modelsâ€.
For more info about WeChat, take a look at the infographic below: