The globe’s most-used messengers are somehow a mirror image of each other.
WhatsApp has more than 900 million users while WeChat boasts a significant 600 million users.
These are no-joke figures, and it is only a few apps that have managed to reach such heights. Facebook bought WhatsApp for an estimated fee of $19 billion and with this app; users have a messenger that is free of any ads, gimmicks, and games. On the other hand, WeChat is striving to become everything that a user wants. It offers chat services, gaming, shopping and even banking. There is just a lot of this application that you’d get on any other chat app, be it on Android or iOS.
WhatsApp has a larger geographical reach than WeChat
The contrast between WhatsApp and WeChat moves on to geography as well as politics. The Chinese government is very strict with social media and as such, the app is heavily monitored. On the other hand, WhatsApp has no such limitations and in fact, the only data the app collects from users is their phone numbers.
As noted earlier, WeChat has 600 million users. However, a huge chunk of them are in China, Southeast Asia and more recently, the app has started gaining popularity in South Africa. On the other hand, WhatsApp has over 900 million monthly active users, and they are evenly distributed across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, South America as well as some parts of Africa.
WeChat leads the way in revenue collection
Even though WhatsApp has a larger user base than WeChat, the former is nowhere the latter when it comes to revenue collection. The main revenue of WhatsApp is the annual subscription fee of $1 that every user must pay after using the app for a year. Conversely, WeChat sells games and stickers to users as well as integrates online shopping and payments; all of which are huge revenue generators to Tencent.
WeChat estimates that each user of the app brings in an average of $7 per year. In quick calculations, this figure translates to around $4.2 billion per year. When compared to the $1 that each WhatsApp user donates, this Facebook-owned chat app is nowhere near WeChat.
WeChat and WhatsApp are invading each other’s territories
As it stands, the two messaging apps have begun entering into each other’s market. While WhatsApp has been spreading its wings to Asia and its environs, WeChat has also been busy in the United States, Europe and other parts of the world. In 2013, WeChat launched a multimillion advertising campaign that spanned through Italy, Spain, South Africa and India. Just this year, WeChat has also channeled $50 million to Canadian chat app Kik; all of which are bids aimed at strengthening the app’s presence in other markets outside Asia.
Facebook has been transforming WhatsApp on different fronts, and the latest rumors suggest that some of the features we are seeing in the latest version of Messenger might come to this app as well. This will even stiffen up the competition between the West and East.
The good thing is that unlike social media where users have to choose one network from the many available, users of smartphone chat apps can have both apps installed. If you have two friends, one on WeChat and the other on WhatsApp, it won’t be realistic to ask them to switch to the app you are using. Instead, you will likely download both apps and install them on your gizmo for easy communication.