Whatsapp Or WeChat? Take Your Pick
The fact that mobile messaging apps have overtaken regular texting is no surprise. Why waste your hard-earned money when you can chat with your friend and family, send voice messages, photos and video completely free of charge?
The only real choice to make here is which mobile messaging app to use – and even in this category you won’t have too many contenders.
With just a few household names dominating the scene – it is getting pretty hard to find out what is really setting them apart and why you should prefer one over the next one.
In this post, we’ll focus on the two mobile messaging applications that, while having lots in common, seem to be taking quite different paths in their quest for more users.
Whatsapp does not need an introduction – being the most widely messaging app internationally and having announced its user pool to be at more than 600 million as of January 2015. It is followed rather closely by its Chinese contender – WeChat – with around 468 million users, most of whom are located in China.
We might tend to think that what separates these two applications is location and target market. With Whatsapp being the number one choice with users in the US and Europe, WeChat is firmly holding its ground in the Asian market. But the recent expansion plans, announced by both companies, seem to put them in direct competition with each other. So what do these two have in common and what is it that sets them apart?
Text And Voice Messaging
Both apps put short messages at the top of their appeal list. And while some applications, like Viber, are often chosen for their call making ability, both Whatsapp and WeChat seem to choose to stick to messaging: whether by text or voice.
Both apps work in a similar fashion: you can send a text message, dictate a voice one, exchange pictures and videos – that’s the gist of it.
With text and voice messaging being its primary functions, Whatsapp tends to concentrate on getting these tasks done fast and smoothly. An interesting extra is that, by default, when you send a message over Whatsapp, you will be notified when it is received and read – think Facebook. Now, there have been both positive and negative responses to the idea. While some users appreciate the comfort of knowing when their messages have been read, others feel that it violates their right of ignoring certain messages (or people) and puts them in trouble with friends.
With WeChat you can send text and voice messages in pretty much the same way – and even the icon layout at the bottom of the screen in practically the same. However, WeChat will not notify you about the fate if your messages and will only let you know when, for some reason, it has not been sent.
Here’s where things get very different. While Whatsapp, as we have mentioned earlier, markets itself strictly as a mobile messaging application, WeChat aims to be more than that. In addition to chatting, you can use WeChat to shop, play games, pay for your phone and even do online banking. If that was not enough, the app is a social media platform in its own right. Just like on Facebook, you can change statuses, upload vacation photos and share insightful quotes with those in your contact list. This social component is actually a big part of what makes WeChat so popular in China. With Facebook being majorly blocked across the country – WeChat seems to have taken the cake as #1 social platform and business promotion platform – with a great number of companies setting up official accounts.
Among other notable additions, we should also mention:
- Group Chat
- QR and Barcode Scanners
- Look Around feature (letting you locate WeChat users nearest to you)
- Shopping and Games
- Online payments and more.
Since its creation in 2009, Whatsapp has been a reliable messaging platform and has opted for keeping it this way – meaning we have not seen too many changes in the application since its establishment.
WeChat, being a new kid on the block, has however taken a different approach and has spoilt its users with various upgrades over the last 4 years. A notable new feature is something called Sight – which lets you take short videos right in the app and send share them with your contacts instantly.
Privacy And Censorship
When it comes to privacy, WeChat makes you jump through more hoops to connect to other users. While in Whatsapp you can message anyone on your contact list, with WeChat there is an approval process to go through. However, WCchat may be facing certain problems with its global expansion plans due to its adherence to local censorship rules and content monitoring.
So let’s sum it up. When it comes to messaging itself both apps have similar functionality (+ Sight feature for WeChat). Both apps allow you send pictures and videos and exchange contacts between friends.
Whatsapp sticks to the basics, while WeChat gives you lots of extra stuff (like social network, news feed, etc). Then again, some of WeChat’s features will be China-based, while Whatsapp has its social networking part covered by Facebook.
What we are getting at here is that both apps will get the job done. Whatsapp will do it in a simple and straightforward way, while WeChat will throw in a few extras to explore and you might find its exotic component interesting. But when it comes to saying which application is better – it’s really a matter of personal choice: minimalism versus multi-functionality.