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If you want a good idea of what Facebook seems to be pivoting itself to become, start using that everything app, WeChat. We tend to think of it as a WhatsApp alternative, but the Tencent wonder service is far more than that, especially in China. From messaging to booking and paying for restaurants, WeChat lets you send money to friends, pay vending machines, make calls, access services, even search for library books.
WeChat has 1.1-billion monthly users, according to Statista, making it the world’s fifth-largest social network behind Facebook (2.2bn), YouTube (1.9bn), WhatsApp (1.5bn) and Facebook Messenger (1.3bn). Instagram is sixth with 1bn users and Tencent’s other instant messaging service, QQ, is eighth with 803m. Launched in 2011, Weixin as it is known in China, was rebranded as WeChat for global audiences in 2012 and is partly why Tencent (of which Naspers owns a third) has become a powerhouse.
It’s thought Beijing is able to monitor WeChat, which sounds rather like Facebook...
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