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Networks Exchange and the Rise of WeChat

https://www.fastcompany.com/3065255/china-wechat-tencent-red-envelopes-and-social-money
https://www.economist.com/news/business/21703428-chinas-wechat-shows-way-social-medias-future-wechats-world

In the recent couple years, WeChat has taken its rise in China. The article remarks that as of December of 2016, WeChat has 768 million active users, which is a 35% increase compared to the previous year. In a country like China which has huge population potential, WeChat has used it to its advantage. One especially unique feature about WeChat that makes it different from its western counterparts is its success in incorporating mobile pay feature. Especially interesting is the red envelops feature. Chinese people sent a total of 32 billion WeChat red envelops during the 2016 Chinese New Year.

It is also interesting that both article remark on WeChat’s ability to link its users to outside website/apps without having to actually leave the page of WeChat. These applications have allowed WeChat users to buy movie tickets, book restaurant reservations, flights, hotels and even to pay the utility bills. Not to include WeChat has now included a rather new feature that is called Weidian, a on-line shopping feature that allows its users to buy things at the chatting page using WeChat pay. The two articles further comment on the WeChat magic that it has emerged to become the “app of everything”.

Such is quite an accurate description because one never needs to leave the WeChat app while performing various different functions. The ability of WeChat to connect its users to outside sources have important page rank implications. According to one of the article, Didi Chuxing (a ride-sharing operation) has cited its coorperation with WeChat Pay as the major reason behind its astounding business growth over the year of 2016 (a significant amount of 348%). Here we can see that WeChat has a place of authority in the series of website that Chinese people use daily. Tencent has enabled itself to be placed in this location of authority and huge endorsement in terms of the Page Rank idea with the creation of the WeChat Pay technology. Users can access a wide variety of other pages through the WeChat application. Its high endorsement among pages has allowed Didi Chuxing to gain in popularity after partnering with WeChat. The Page Rank idea implies that those with high endorsements will have actions that are more naturally endorsed by the others, which bring about benefit to Didi as well. As well users operating on other applications/websites would likely retrieve back to the page of WeChat Pay if the activity involves some kind of transaction, hence giving the WeChat Pay link rather a lot of authority. Such is Tencent triumphing in taking the lead in mobile payment and its receiving authority and endorsement as the result of that positioning.

It is also interesting that both articles mention western social media company like Facebook and Snapchat’s effort to catch up with WeChat’s success. It is interesting that there is the comparison in the Western market there is more competition as in the Chinese market there is the state sponsored censorship that has eliminated competition to some extent. Such is also the other reason why WeChat could have so much authority. It is the giant bloc that has access to various resources. Hence it has the ability to yield terms that are favorable to itself according to the network exchange theory while company like Facebook would have a more difficult time doing so. It is also interesting that in the red envelope feature, the article mentions that the informational and transactional feature of network connections have been combined as the amount of money in itself could contain certain meaning in Chinese culture.

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