Whatsapp vs Wechat (Brand Popularity, Paid Services and Scandals)

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Another article with an alliterated heading, believe me when I say it’s pure coincidence. Let’s leave rhetoric and great straight to business.

Whatsapp and Wechat are synonymous and diverse platforms that started out as peer to peer messaging platforms, they are now so much more and have both been listed as Forbes most powerful apps in 2007 and 2015 respectively. Their major distinction is their target markets and locations.

Comparing their target market and locations

Whatsapp is very popular in the US and in India, while Wechat is very popular in China. In fact, the Chinese government went on to ban Whatsapp from users in China, leaving Wechat as it sole peer to peer messaging platform.

WhatsApp early history and timeline of success

Whatsapp was founded in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum who were both ex-employees of Yahoo. It was originally intended to be a platform for sharing statuses, which is why the App sounds like; “What’s Up”.

It was initially developed for only iPhones, but consecutively other versions accommodating other phones like the Blackberry soon became part of the Whatsapp enabled devices, although the platform ended their services towards Blackberry Java making it exclusively for Android and iOS.

Whatsapp grew faster than its creators anticipated, in just after 24 months of business; the platform had over 200 million users. In 2014 Facebook acquired Whatsapp for US$19.3 billion; that has been Facebook’s biggest acquisition. Upon acquiring Whatsapp, users declined because there was a loss of service.

The normal $1 a year subscription that Koun implemented was abolished by him and that rejuvenated traction on Whatsapp. Whatsapp after being acquired by Facebook has gone on to create a space for Stories and now we have Whatsapp Business account.

Wechat early history and timeline of success.

Wechat was founded by Tencent Holdings, which is an investment conglomerate that specializes in producing tech that ranges from Video games to music streaming.

Wechat is primarily created to be a peer-peer social platform but has quickly evolved and become a multi-purpose social media and payment platform.

Wechat is an essential part of China and it has become a necessity for the Average Chinese. It can be used for messaging, recording moments, payments, location intelligence, Wechat friend seek and the Wechat Index just to mention a few. It is believed that the Chinese government retained Wechat to keep tabs on the online social lives of its citizens.

Nevertheless, Wechat has done a remarkable Job staying above the competition in their own space even with such a multi-functional platform.

WhatsApp and Wechat Popularity

Whatsapp in 2016 had 1.5 billion users. It also recorded 1.2 billion daily users. It can be found in more than 100 countries with India and the United States being its major consumers.

Wechat, on the other hand, recorded 902 million users as of 2016 with more than 90% being Chinese and some users from environs around China.

WhatsApp and Wechat Paid Services.

All WhatsApp platforms are totally free, prior to 2016 an annual subscription fee would have been required but now even the Whatsapp Business app comes totally free with all of its goodies and incentives for you to enjoy.

Wechat, on the other hand, has several paid subscriptions going as high as $45 for a subscription fee.

There are different kinds of official accounts and each of them has different packages they come with. Some of these accounts can be used to register a patient to a hospital before the patient arrives there.

WhatsApp and Wechat Scandals

Whatsapp is a subsidiary under Facebook that has had numerous scandals, Whatsapp has not been left off these scandals, and it has been permanently banned by China and Uganda. It has also been temporarily banned in places like Sri Lanka, Brazil, and Iran.

Wechat, on the other hand, has had issues within China as many of its users complain that their rights to privacy are being infringed, they have also been banned temporarily in Iran.


It is very clear that Whatsapp is a much bigger platform than Wechat but the diversity of the former makes it stand out. It has become much of a necessity in China and although has been trying to internationalize, competitors in other countries refuse the app as its own does the same.

Hi! My name is Ikenna Gabriel Ifenna and I am a professional IT consultant. I have an excellent understanding of how computer works and I love to read, write and research about tech kinds of stuff. I design websites, knows how to use WordPress multisite to create complex web applications and I design e-Commerce websites for businesses. When I am not doing any of these, you can find me riding bicycle with Strava. Want to work together? I would love to hear from you.

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