There are tons of apps out there in Google Playstore and iOS market that caters for free messaging on smartphones. While Kakao Talk is huge in South Korea and Line and Whatsapp being some of the most relied upon messaging app, Tencent’s WeChat or Weixin (in Chinese) rakes it big in China. Everything’s been fine and dandy over the years with not much competition from the rest of the app developers but we caught wind that there is a major change in direction.
Being BeQRious, the change has to be….yes, related to QR Codes.
At the point of writing this article, it was reported that WeChat has right about a hundred million users on it and that the company’s introduced a QR Code ‘follow’ system to the app…which means that brands, blogs, papers, agencies, radio show owners, even celebrities (if they wish to) can get directly to the smartphone owners via the app. Not sure what you think about push marketing in this internet age but…we leave it up to your own personal conclusion.
The app allows its users to actually check people out, celebrities, shows and brands that they like and follow them there on WeChat. They can then scan the code to follow these people or brands; and in return, the brands can easily send mobile users messages, advertisements or updates. Apparently, lots of Chinese tech blogs are already on it and a popular show called ‘Fei Chang Wu Rao’s attempt is also graining traction.
Currently, ‘following’ someone on WeChat is limited to just scanning the QR Code. In the very near future, there is most certainly going to be a bigger twist – coupon download, loyalty programs and interaction with customers and fan base on smartphones.
Some Chinese companies are seeing this as a chance to engage their consumers directly on their smartphones and are quick to hop on. If they followed the unspoken rule against spamming, it is highly unlikely that these users think of it as intrusive.
The problem with it is that it opens up the system to malicious and ill-intention people too – imagine receiving intrusive mass messages on your phone all day long. Some tech followers think that WeChat will soon launch into gaming too…well, that remains to be seen, I guess.
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