2014 has been a big year for WeChat, globally WeChat has grown from strength to strength. WeChat’s active user base by our data has grown by 55.42% to reach a total globally (excluding China) of 25.21 million active monthly users. From Q2 2013 to Q2 2014 globally (excluding China) WeChat is the 3rd fastest growing app.

Focusing in on the APAC (Asian-Pacific) region (excluding China) we saw incredible growth between Q2 2013 and Q2 2014 of 63.21%. Considering that WeChat already had good market share in the region, the growth is remarkable. Rather interesting is how closely WeChat’s gender distribution matches the average internet user for the APAC region. The average internet user gender distribution is 61% male and 39% female. Snapchat and WhatsApp however, 77% and 71% respectively, have a lot more male users.

China in addition to being the home of WeChat is its top market. WeChat grew by 39.47% between Q2 2013 and Q2 2014. In total our research puts WeChat’s 307.95 million active monthly users. Perhaps even more impressively is WeChat’s penetration, in the past year it has risen to 81% (from 59%) of smartphone users using the app in the past month in China. This penetration has lead to WeChat ranking as the top app in China. It has however slowed down in growth, being the 11th fastest growing app in China.

Another key market for WeChat is Hong Kong where WeChat grew by over 220% in the past year. This has resulted in a penetration rate of 40.18%. However WeChat has to make up ground, as WhatsApp has a higher rate of 69.29%.Taiwan is of note as well due it WeChat seeing a 166.23% growth from Q2 2013 to Q2 2014.

WeChat typically has done very well in China, and now momentum is building across the APAC region. For instance in the Philippines WeChat has seen a 100.19% increase in growth, likewise a 73.29% increase in Malayasia and a 69.89% increase in India.

Mobile messaging is a very competitive market with dozens of new apps popping up and there are multiple business models that are very successful, Line’s sticker store for example. WeChat is in a prime position to further expand upon its successes found in mainland China as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan. Furthermore the new features that WeChat is adding provides more reasons to either stay such as being able to recall a message and the integration of Cortana in its Windows Phone 8 app. One issue that WeChat does face is the censorship from the Chinese government and it could hinder its global appeal.

Interested in more mobile messaging? Read our report here


Written by

Jason is Chief Research Officer at GWI. He's the main man who leads our global team of analysts, delivering world-renowned research. He's an in-demand data junkie who you might see popping up on your telly screens every so often to show you what's actually happening in the lives of consumers.

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