Digitally China Podcast: The WeChat Hustle

WeChat, China's ubiquitous chat app, is becoming an ecommerce platform to rival the likes of established outlets Taobao and Jingdong - here's how

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1:39 AM HKT, Wed November 21, 2018 1 mins read

Digitally China is a bi-weekly podcast from RADII hosted by Tom Xiong and Eva Xiao, and produced by Jacob Loven. On each episode, the team will tackle a different timely tech-related topic, providing key insights on all you need to know about the fast-changing nature of innovation in China. Find previous episodes of Digitally China here.

When you think of e-commerce in China, Alibaba is probably the first name that comes to mind. And no wonder — the internet giant has built a multibillion dollar empire off a sophisticated e-commerce, logistics, and payments trifecta. Jingdong or JD, Alibaba’s main domestic rival, has also done well for itself by carving out a higher quality niche.

But Tencent’s WeChat, China’s most ubiquitous and popular messaging app, often goes unnoticed in this sphere. Tencent’s roots lie in gaming and social networking — its early attempts at e-commerce were actually a failure. However, many WeChat users are running their own unofficial shops called “weishang” or micro-shops. Thanks to built-in payments, the app’s social newsfeed, and one-on-one chat windows, these ‘micro’ shopkeepers are able to operate lucrative businesses from their phone — and connect with customers in a more intimate way than Taobao, Alibaba’s online bazaar.

In this episode of Digitally China, we explore the rise of “weishang” and its impact on the e-commerce landscape in more detail.

Listen to the episode below or find it on iTunes here.

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Cover image: Shutterstock

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