With over 440 million users as of Q2 2014, Tencent-owned WeChat is the world’s second-largest global messaging service, and China’s travel industry is jumping on board.
Though WeChat falls short of WhatsApp’s 500 million users, it’s far more advanced in terms of monetizing its platform, according to 4Hoteliers.com.
WeChat’s main source of revenue is online games with expected revenues of US$1.1 billion in 2014 and a 40 percent increase in revenue in 2015. It is also the most popular platform in China for the sharing of travel experiences. The company has now turned its attention to increasing revenue from e-commerce and mobile payments, specifically in the travel industry.
Both WeChat and LINE, a Japanese-based service that is becoming popular in China, offer features that allow companies to manage customer support through their apps.
Several Chinese companies have gone beyond customer support on WeChat to conducting sales through the app. China’s largest online travel agency, Ctrip, now sells airplane, train, and attractions tickets through WeChat. Similarly, Spring Airlines, a low-cost carrier, launched its WeChat app in April of this year, which allows customers to purchase tickets and check in for their flights. What’s more, after starting a partnership with WeChat, Chinese taxi app Didi Dache doubled its users to 40 million in one month.
It is likely that more Chinese travel companies will get in on the trend, as The World Travel Market Global Trends Report 2014 predicts that “WeChat is expected to be launched on all internet-connected mobile devices including smartwatches and smartglasses.”
Simon Press, World Travel Market’s senior director, said, “As accessing the internet from a smartphone becomes common-place, instant messaging as a transactional channel could take off in mature markets as well.”
image source: bizdaily