When we published the article “WeChat is better than WhatsApp” one of the complaints that kept coming up was that the social messaging app was not available for Zimbabwe (see comments to the article). Our Question and answer site was also inundated with the question of how to go around this restriction. It was ofcourse simply pretending you were in the default country, China.
Recently though, upon installing WeChat on a new phone, we found Zimbabwe is now available on the list of countries available, so no need for workarounds anymore! Just go ahead and download the app (it’s available for Android, Nokia feature phones, BlackBerries, Windows Phone, and iOS). We should say though that we only checked the Android version.
WeChat, a Tencent startup which is basically a WhatsApp clone, has been successful in its home market of China, and in 2013 embarked on a deliberate strategy to penetrate the global social messaging market. WeChat signed up football star Lionel Messi to star in a TV ad which, if you’re a DStv subscriber, you’ve probably already seen. WeChat has so far claimed that it has more than 100 million users outside China.
And yes, we still think its way better than WhatsApp, on many more different levels now. In fact it may be positioned to be more popular than WhatsApp if WhatsApp doesn’t up its offering for emerging markets. But that’s an argument for another day.
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