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[liberationtech] Thoughts on expansion of WeChat in the U.S.?

Han, Shelly Shelly.Han at
Mon Feb 25 07:26:16 PST 2013

Would be interested in your thoughts on what the expansion of Chinese internet tools to U.S. consumers mean for the user’s privacy? Other issues?
(The article calls it “WeiChat” but that seems to be a direct translation. It is marketed in English as “WeChat”.)

Tencent Opens Office in U.S., Taking WeiChat onto Bigger Stage
02-25 16:36 Caijing
WeiChat’s international strategy begun last year as Line, the Japanese messaging service came to China, home of its biggest rival.
Tencent, a leading Internet company in China, is building an office in the U.S. for its popular instant message service WeiChat, a move to take the app onto a bigger stage.

WeiChat, known in China as “Weixin”,said its users reached more than 300 million last month, and the fast-growing instant messaging app is poised to over take Sina Weibo--a twitter-like service in China--to be the largest social platform in China over the next few years. Weibo users topped an intimidating 500 million last month.

The company’s Corporate Development Group (CDG) will open an office in the U.S. led by vice president Zhang Xiaolong whose responsibilities include building a user base and customer relations department for WeiChat in the world’s largest economy, said the company in an email sent to its staff on Monday.

WeiChat begun its overseas expansion last year, when Line, the Japanese messaging service came to China, home of its biggest rival.

Justin Sunza, a manager at the International Business Group (IBG) earlier said WeiChat mainly targets at Southeast Asian countries and areas including HK, Taiwan and Singapore, while the number of users in the U.S. and the Arab world is increasing fast as well.

A heatmap by Chinese-oriented consultants Value 2020 showed that WeChat is gaining popularity in Malaysia with the number of users breaking one million within less than one year after it was launched. The second-most popular area for WeChat outside China is India, said the Value 2020.

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