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WeChat: With 195m active monthly users, the WhatsApp rival looks to Africa

WeChatWhatsApp is the king app of smartphone messaging. There’s no disputing that right now. Globally. But this is something Chinese rival, WeChat wants to change or, at the very least, get a huge  piece of that pie, and Africa is strategic to that vision. A report on South African tech news site ITWeb says the company is looking to expand rapidly on the continent.

“The rate of growth has been phenomenal. The last 100 million users [total 400 million] were added in just one quarter,” said the WeChat MD for SA, Brett Loubser. Started 2 years ago as a clone of WhatsApp, WeChat has managed to differentiate itself with more bells and whistles that WhatsApp doesn’t have, or doesn’t want to have. WeChat now reportedly has 195 million active monthly users.

The deliberate push for more user acquisition in Africa started about 5 months ago with a an aggressive marketing strategy targeted at mobile users on the continent the article says. WeChat is based out of South Africa for their African operations. Louber said to ITWeb that there is large enough a smartphone market in Africa to start their drive. It makes sense that as smartphone prices continue to drop and more people are able to afford them, the WeChat brand may be positioned to take in those new smartphone owners.

Have you tried WeChat yourself? Which do you prefer between it and WhatsApp?

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9 thoughts on “WeChat: With 195m active monthly users, the WhatsApp rival looks to Africa

    1. Whatsapp 250M active monthly users, WeChat 195M active monthly users not as great a difference as your graphic suggests. WeChat also has more features than Whatsapp. What would really be interesting to know is the rate of growth in usage of both apps

      1. Can they really beat Whatsapp hitting 27 billion messages a day? (
        I use Whatsapp daily and in my opinion is easy and less of a memory hogger than WeChat. And now I can retrieve my backup’d Whatsapp messages in my GMail account so I do not have to worry about losing my chat history if my android phone crashes. ( I already use IMO ( to store my chats from other chat platforms on-line for easy retrieval later on. My biggest gripe with this app is not being able to access my chat history wherever, whenever, however.
        Plus anything that is software related form the Chinese tends not be trusted by the main users of mobile apps – Westerners. It may gain foot hold for a while due to interest but if I remember Facebook Messenger tried to replicate this and failed dismally.

        1. Can they really beat Whatsapp? Don’t know. Like I said the best stat to know would be the growth rates, then one can make a projection.

          1. probably 90% of weChat users are Chinese thats a factor that may have been deliberately omitted. so i dont think they can go anywhere.

            1. It is primarily Chinese (Tencent) but also has 50 million users in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and India

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