WeChat is now reported to be the second-most downloaded free app by iPhone users in the UAE and threatens to overtake Whatsapp, Skype and even BBM.
According to app tracker App Annie, the app is number two among the free app downloads from Apple’s app store.
The messaging app has caught the attention of mobile phone users with its simple interface that incorporates all available methods of communication, including voice, video or group chat, apart from traditional text messaging.
However, the app is not for those who are concerned about their privacy as it will not only enable you to be discovered by ‘anonymous’ people, but can be the best means to meet random people.
The app has multiple mechanisms incorporated into it that enables the user to contact random strangers and get linked to them.
Tencent last week said its active user numbers increased by a dramatic 228 per cent to 194 million during the first quarter of 2013. The company had in March announced that it has crossed 300 million users worldwide of which almost 260 million are from China alone.
But the overseas numbers are growing fast. WeChat, which was already available for download in other Asian countries was launched in the UAE recently and is fast gaining momentum.
Unlike WhatsApp, which is priced at Dh3.69 on the Apple store, WeChat is free and without pushed ads.
Here are a few of the features that makes the app so appealing.
This feature allows you to discover people who are using WeChat around you, even though they are not on your network. Imagine being in a shopping mall and switching on the feature. You could potentially get hold of hundreds of new profiles.
Just shake your phone and you will get an automatic notification of a totally different person shaking the phone at the same time anywhere in the world. You are even allowed to send a message to the random person and invite to befriend.
The feature allows the user to share pictures and let your friends like it or add a comment. Although the images many not be meant for public viewing anyone who has access to your profile will be able to see them.
Social Network Integration
WeChat allows its user to integrate their profile with Facebook and Twitter, thereby enabling a connection between their friends on other social network.
The feature allows you to send location notifications to someone who you are chatting with. Just imaging you are chatting with your boss from a holiday destination but pretending to be ill, and your boss asks you for a location notification.
Clicking on the location icon will immediately send the exact location with the GPS co-ordinates to the other person. You can even add the details that you receive from the other person to their contacts.
You can add several members from your contact list and chat with all of them at the same time.
Video and ‘Live’ Chat
Video chat obviously allows a user to start video conversation with his contact. ‘Live’ chat is nothing but voice chat. Video chat also enables the user to switch off the video and convert it into a voice only chat mid-way without disconnecting the conversation.
Hold to Talk
This is a feature similar to that of an old walkie-talkie. Just hold on to the button, say your message and release your finger and a voice memo is sent to the recipient. The feature is ideal for sending a message while driving.