Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

One to Watch: Tencent’s 100M-User-Strong Weixin Messaging App

I was researching a feature project when I was introduced to Weixin, a hot Chinese smartphone messaging app that’s probably worth checking out, given its huge adoption in China — a reported 100 million registered users in a bit more than a year.

Weixin is made by Chinese Internet giant Tencent, and it combines a bunch of different app functions from products you may be familiar with, like WhatsApp, Voxer and Skout. It offers individual and group chat with friends with text and voice, as well as flirting features to find people nearby and around the world.

Weixin has a few cute gimmicky features. For example, users can shake their phones and be virtually connected to someone else shaking his or her phone at the same time. I sent out an anonymous “message in a bottle” on the app and virtually immediately got replies from five people who wanted to chat. Unfortunately, I don’t speak Chinese and only one of them spoke English.

“It’s really crazy how few people in the Valley know of this app,” said a Silicon Valley VC who is currently traveling in China.

Tencent’s QQ is China’s dominant instant messaging service and Weixin is compatible with QQ accounts, but the mobile app has attracted more of a “white-collar” or “fancy” user base, according to the Chinese tech blog TechRice. The app is available for iOS, Android, Windows Mobile and Symbian.

I’ll include Weixin in my feature story next week, but thought it was worth flagging for now.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik