On March 28, Tencent’s flagship app WeChat announced a series of new plans for various sections including video accounts, payment, mini programs, search services and WeCom at its annual event promoting new functions and strategies.
Video Accounts is a video section of WeChat that is marketed as Channels. Zhang Xiaochao, Tencent‘s Vice President and Head of Video Accounts, reported that the number of daily active creators and average video uploads on Video Accounts have doubled year-on-year. In 2022, sales revenue from live-streaming on Video Accounts has increased by 800%, and the number of authors earning income in 2022 has grown by 2.64 times compared to 2021.
Zhang stated that Video Account’s focus in the upcoming phase will be on assisting creators to boost their earnings. WeChat plans to enable content creators to establish a paid video section on their Video Accounts, allowing viewers to pay for access. Additionally, content creators can opt-in for advertisements in the comment section of their Channels account and receive a portion of the ad revenue as compensation.
During a speech on WeChat Pay, the payment system that garnered the most attention was one that relied on scanning users’ palm prints. Zhang Ying, Vice President of Tencent and head of WeChat Pay, explained that users can conveniently link membership cards, campus cards, transportation cards, electronic codes and other items with this new service for identity verification and consumption purposes. However, no information was provided regarding when the service will be officially launched or how palm print data will be collected.
Zhang Ying shared the accomplishments of WeChat Pay over the past year. Presently, WeChat Pay’s cross-border payment services have expanded to 69 countries and regions globally, with over 1,000 international partners and more than 4 million merchants overseas.
WeChat Pay has introduced a feature to encourage more consumption among customers. This feature provides a coupon to customers after they make a payment in mini programs. Currently, 25,000 merchants have adopted this feature and it has generated 12 billion yuan ($1.74 billion) in consumption over the past three years.
Over the past year, the average monthly usage of mini programs in WeChat has increased by 24%, and the transactions in mini programs achieved a year-on-year growth rate of over 40%.
WeCom is an enterprise communication platform that provides efficient communication and office automation tools. It offers a seamless communication experience, similar to WeChat, along with various OA applications. Huang Tieming, the Vice President of Tencent and head of WeCom, reported that more than 12 million real enterprises and organizations are currently using WeCom. Additionally, the number of users served by WeCom has reached 500 million.
Xu Jingfang, the head of WeChat’s search service, reported that as of 2022, the monthly active users have reached 800 million. This marks a year-on-year increase in search volume by 54%. In response to this growth, WeChat plans to introduce a “Question and Answer” feature. This new function is expected to compete with Zhihu – a forum website where users create, answer, edit and organize questions.