Now people spend more and more time on their mobile phones checking social networks. In China, there are two Apps dominating people’s time: QQ and Wechat. They are equally popular and owned by a single company, Tencent. However, many people only use one of them and insist one is better than the other. To find the cause of this phenomenon, we need to explore further through their histories.
At the beginning of the new millennium, QQ was born at the setting of the Internet boom in China when a great many people can access to the Internet at their home or at the Internet cafes. Different from its predecessors, QQ allows people to send messages to offline friends and check their messages through different computers, which is convenient for people going to Internet cafes. With this advantage, QQ gained over fifty million users in less than a year.
Wechat came after QQ much later in 2011 and encountered with the increasing use of smartphones. Wechat is aimed to provide users with compact interface and better communication experience. Therefore, many old people joined the users of Wechat. Wechat expands fast and later became another major social network software in China.
Now you may have some idea about the differences between QQ and Wechat: QQ is designed for computers while Wechat is aimed for mobile phones. However, if this is the mere difference between QQ and Wechat, there won’t be so much debate about their utility.
When QQ was first released, Tencent was still a small company with no more than dozens of people. The popularity of QQ increased the cost for maintenance. To make their ends meet, they came up with a unique way: the membership system. Membership provides users personal font, dialog bubble, and any other privileges. Young people are especially attracted by these privileges and buy membership. Because of its huge user population, QQ wins a lot of profit.
On the other hand, many considered the membership system of QQ “flamboyance” because varied fonts are too distracting. Wechat takes a different approach. Wechat aims to provide efficient messaging experience, which favors certain people, and the number of its users skyrocketed in several months: statistics show that the flow of QQ dropped considerably. The famous Wechat Pay further secured its popularity. Now many companies release advertisements and trends on Wechat.
I am a faithful convert of Wechat, but still, a lot of people in China hold high opinion of QQ. As some claim, QQ is more PC friendly, which is helpful for office workers. They can transmit documents with colleagues easily. Radical QQ advocates criticize that Wechat users are all old, out-fashioned people and QQ will eventually eliminate Wechat. However, the fact is that there are virtually equal numbers of people use Wechat and QQ.
It is the “simplicity” that makes many people choose Wechat. For them, Wechat is only a replacement of texting. Wechat does not have functions deviated too much from texting. In this sense, Wechat is not that a “social software”: you simply won’t use texting to socialize, and Wechat is like an extension of the real life social circle. To certain people, many functions of QQ are redundant.
They immediately embraced Wechat after its release. The divergence of opinions reveals the preferred lifestyle of different people. QQ has become the symbol of an age and generation. It has accompanied the childhood of many millennials. QQ was the little enjoyment children at that time can have. When they grow up, they continue their bond with QQ. On the contrary, born in the era of mobile phones, Wechat is somewhat “oversimplified” as some claim. This is reasonable, though, just as smartphone is a “oversimplified” version of computer. People using Wechat (like me) often check the message and quickly return to things at hand.
The battle between QQ and Wechat, just like any other rivalry in history, is not a statistic question; it revolves coincidence, emotion, and for many times, the result is unpredictable. Whatever the reason is, Wechat distinguished itself under the monopoly of QQ. Maybe instead of arguing against which one is better, analyzing their success is more meaningful.