One of the greatest uses of modern smartphones is definitely instant messaging, allowing is to chat and exchange multimedia files with our contacts in the most immediate manner. In this sector, there are three dominating apps in the world such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Viber, as they are the three most popular instant messaging applications in over 170 countries worldwide.
But certain countries seem to live in a world of their own, beyond the popularity of these three services and have their own pet messengers. Everybody has heard about the examples of LINE in Japan, KakaoTalk in South Korea, imo in Cuba or Zalo in Vietnam. And that's where China comes in with another instant messaging app that slaughters the rest of them: WeChat. Its popularity is such that it currently has almost 900 millions users, 850 of which are in China.
What is WeChat?
It's basically the Chinese WhatsApp, an instant messaging, chat, and voice and video calls developed by Tencent and initially released to the market in 2011. As well as the basic functions that are inherent to this kind of application, it also offers its users the possibility to share photos, videos, locations, and other files, play online video games (Clash Royale is the most popular of them all since Tencent acquired Supercell), and other functions that are more usual on social networks and dating apps, such as the possibility to interact with random users.
Furthermore, it also comes along with the following noteworthy features and functions:
- Send and receive text messages that you can liven up with emojis and stickers.
- Sticker gallery to give your messages more expressiveness.
- Totally private chats with TRUSTe certificates.
- Free video calls and high-quality video conferences.
- Group chats with up to 500 members.
- Share multimedia files such as photos, videos or audio notes.
- Possibility to indicate your location in real time.
- Plenty of entertaining mobile games to challenge other users.
- Moments function to publish, edit, and comment your pictures and those of other users.
- WeChat Pay as a mobile payment method.
- Social functions to get to know nearby people and make new friends from your iPhone.
Just like all communication tools of this kind, it's a multiplatform application available for both Android, in APK format, and iOS devices, whether iPhone or iPad, as well offering us a desktop version for Windows PC and a web-based client for macOS, although these two cases require us to also have the app installed on a mobile device. Where can you download it for free? Obviously from Apple and Google's official stores, as well as the service's own website.
Which one's better? WeChat, WhatsApp or LINE?
As we mentioned above, all three are really good instant messaging applications that have millions of users, with very similar functions and a few peculiarities that differentiate them from the others. But at the end of the day, deciding which one's the best all comes down to being able to communicate with whoever you want whenever you want. So, if you decide to install WeChat outside of China you're probably going to be home alone with nobody to chat with. However, if you've got loads of Chinese contacts, this might be the messenger you need on your iPhone.
What's new in the latest version?
- You can now search for files, photos, and links in your chat history.
- Preview and possibility to edit photos before sending them.