WeChat set to launch app for en­ter­prise users

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

WeChat, which con­nects more than half a bil­lion in­di­vid­ual users via the mo­bile mes­sag­ing ser­vice, is launch­ing a sep­a­rate ap­pli­ca­tion for en­ter­prise clients.

The app, named Qiye Weixin or En­ter­prise WeChat in English, is un­der beta test­ing and is ex­pected to be rolled out in the next cou­ple of months.

WeChat, owned by In­ter­net gi­ant Ten­cent Hold­ings Ltd, said in a state­ment on Thurs­day that the en­ter­prise mes­sag­ing ser­vice is de­signed for work-re­lated com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

"With WeChat be­ing widely adopted in ev­ery­day life, more peo­ple have been dis­cussing work-re­lated sub­jects on WeChat with col­leagues when they are off-work," it said.

"While some en­joy it, some oth­ers find it a bur­den be­cause WeChat mixes up their per­sonal life and work," said the Shen­zhen-based com­pany, adding the new en­ter­prise ser­vice will help peo­ple en­joy a bet­ter work-life bal­ance.

It's Ten­cent's lat­est move to tap into China's tril­lion-yuan en­ter­prise soft­ware ser­vice mar­ket, an­a­lysts said.

Ji Yan­hang, with the Bei­jing­based In­ter­net con­sul­tancy Analysys In­ter­na­tional, said that with the num­ber of in­di­vid­ual users ex­ceed­ing 650 mil­lion, WeChat is keen to ex­pand its mar­ket to en­ter­prise users.

"Sev­eral com­pa­nies have al­ready jumped into the en­ter­prise in­stant mes­sag­ing mar­ket, be­cause they find it as an im­por­tant gate­way to ac­cess clients, who may be in­ter­ested in dig­i­tal­iz­ing their en­tire busi­ness op­er­a­tional process, not only com­mu­ni­ca­tion, but also hu­man re­sources man­age­ment and en­ter­prise re­sources plan­ning," he said.

Ten­cent, which built its busi­ness em­pire on de­vel­op­ing so­cial net­work­ing tools, in­tro­duced its first en­ter­prise-used in­stant mes­sag­ing tool RTX in 2003. In 2014, it added an en­ter­prise ac­count in­side WeChat to help em­ploy­ers bet­ter con­nect and col­lab­o­rate.

But in terms of launch­ing a sep­a­rate mes­sag­ing app for en­ter­prise users, its ri­val Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd en­joys some first-mover ad­van­tage by in­tro­duc­ing DingTalk in Fe­bru­ary 2015.

The app, which tar­gets small and medium-sized busi­nesses, has gained more than 1 mil­lion en­ter­prise users, said Alibaba in its lat­est re­port at the end of Jan­uary.

De­spite that, given WeChat's rul­ing po­si­tion in China's so­cial me­dia world, the new app could soon catch up. Ji of Analysys In­ter­na­tional said the en­ter­prise mes­sag­ing app mar­ket is still tak­ing shape.

"Even if WeChat can only turn a small part of its in­di­vid­ual users into its en­ter­prise ser­vice users, that would make a de­cent mar­ket share," he said.

Chen Jia, a white-col­lar worker in Bei­jing, said she des­per­ately wants some re­place­ment for WeChat as the app has been dom­i­nat­ing her life. "All my friends, fam­i­lies, col­leagues, class­mates are con­nected with me via WeChat. It is such chaos on­line ev­ery­day," she said.

"But still I don't have the nerve to not use it be­cause when some­thing im­por­tant hap­pens, peo­ple still con­tact you on WeChat," said the 28year-old.

Ac­cord­ing to the China So­cial Me­dia Im­pact 2015 sur­vey con­ducted by Kan­tar Group, an in­creas­ing num­ber of Chi­nese said so­cial me­dia had less pos­i­tive in­flu­ence in their lives while 15 per­cent said it had, in fact, made their lives worse.


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