WeChat introduction

What is WeChat?

WeChat is the most popular app in China, with over 1.24 billion active users per month. The vast majority of users are in mainland China.

It is primarily a WhatsApp-style messaging app, with over 45 billion text messages and 205 million video messages sent on WeChat every day.

However, WeChat has also expanded to offer a huge range of additional features and services – including “mini apps” from third party organisations which can operate inside the WeChat platform. Some interesting WeChat extra features include:

  • WeChat groups: Private group chats with up to 500 people
  • WeChat moments: A Facebook or Instagram style feed, consisting primarily of picture or video updates from your WeChat contacts
  • WeChat mini programs: Micro apps built into the WeChat platform
  • WeChat video channels: A TikTok-style short video area
  • *WeChat pay (a.k.a. WeChat wallet): A convenient QR-code based mobile payment platform with extra services such as takeout ordering, public transport booking, charity donations, etc.
  • *WeChat official accounts: Blog-style updates from your favourite businesses
  • *WeChat games: Fun games within WeChat
  • *WeChat music: Listen to your favourite artists within WeChat

Note that features marked with an asterisk (*) are only available to mainland Chinese users (although some, like video channels and official accounts can still be followed by international users, but you are not able to post).

Why is WeChat important for online ESL teachers?

If you are targeting the Chinese market, WeChat is an essential app for communications. Most international social media or messaging apps (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.) are blocked in China, and emails are not commonly used.

WeChat is therefore incredibly useful for your day-to-day communications with students and parents. For example, you can message them on WeChat to arrange class times, send them the online meeting link, share homework documents, send feedback after class, etc. If you are teaching more relaxed conversation-based classes, you could even use WeChat’s free video call feature (note that it does not allow screensharing though).

Additionally, WeChat also has many useful features for marketing your ESL business too. In this course, we will discuss the various ways you can use WeChat for marketing in particular.

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