WeChat: An Emerging Chinese Global Competitor




Case Details Case Introduction 1 Case Introduction 2 Case Excerpts

Abstract

The case is about WeChat, a mobile phone text and voice messaging communication service developed by Shanghai, China based Tencent Holdings Limited. Launched in January 2011, it quickly came to be seen as the future world-leading messaging app by some industry observers. WeChat was the most popular messaging application in China where it was called ‘Weixin’ (micro-message). According to Pony Ma, Founder and CEO of Tencent, WeChat was more than just a communication tool. The company had developed it into a multi-functional platform through initiatives such as smartphone games, official accounts and payment functions. Having already established a dominant position in China, Tencent invested hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing and popularizing its WeChat services in international markets in 2013. However, some analysts were of the view that the service of Chinese Internet companies was so localized that they could not compete in the global market. Whether WeChat could reverse this trend was the question. Another potential challenge before Pony Ma and his team was how to monetize WeChat’s popularity. Moreover, the mobile messaging space was also getting increasingly cluttered and the competition had intensified with Facebook acquiring WeChat’s main rival and market leader, Whatsapp, in February 2014.

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Issues

The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • Understand the reasons for WeChat’s success in China.
  • Understand WeChat’s app-within-an-app model.
  • Understand issues and challenges in managing networked businesses and multifunctional-platforms like WeChat.
  • Idenify the challenges before WeChat in establishing its presence in international markets.
  • Explore ways in which WeChat could emerge as a leader in the global market.
Contents
INTRODUCTION
ABOUT TENCENT
WECHAT
GROWTH OF WECHAT
WECHAT GOES GLOBAL
CHALLENGES
LOOKING AHEAD
EXHIBITS

Keywords

Knowledge and Communication Systems management, Managing Networked Businesses, International Marketing, International Management, Competition, Social Networking platforms, Network effects, managing beyond borders and cultures, Emerging Chinese global competitors, Messaging services, e-commerce

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