Move away Apple and Google, Tencent’s WeChat is becoming better than you as a platform to start-off in China.
When working on a new app or product, the developer would face problems in deciding which platform they should start on. Entrepreneurs in China have another problem – they are not sure how big the market impact will be. This means that it will require quite some foresight as well as hindsight to ensure businesses run well.
However, Vincent Mah of GiftPass and Ryan Shuken of Chishen.ma found an alternative path – to work in an ecosystem that has already been proven sufficient. Tagging on the success of WeChat in China, the two budding winners of China’s premier startup accelerator program chose to work within WeChat to get the engagement they need.
GiftPass lets WeChat users send gift vouchers to friends, which can be used to redeem various merchandise. On the other hand, Chishen.ma allows friends to review restaurants for them to make up their mind on where can they have their next meal together.
While working within the messaging app will have limited options for development, the advantage is that developers are able to ride along with the success of the messaging app – TechinAsia reported that WeChat has nearly 400 million registered users just early this quarter and it’s not showing any signs of peak usage.
This presents a risk as it also means that your market exposure is subjected to Tencent’s approval, or disapproval. China’s TechWeb stated that the operator has wiped out a considerable amount of users who were involved in a prostitution scandal within the app.
Also caught in the line of fire was Microsoft’s pet bot Xiaobing, a chat bot “murdered” by WeChat as there were claims of the bot luring users into registering spam accounts as reported by iFeng.
One man’s meat is another man’s poison – will your startup idea go under the knife of WeChat is something you will need to consider if you intend to develop an app for WeChat.