WeChat: Jumping into live broadcasting with upgraded Video Channels, too Late?

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WeChat Jumps In Too Late

WeChat is really too jumbled at the moment- all kinds of functions, buttons, and also pay functions. Even with high-frequency users, the main problems are how to allocate traffic and set up the entry point, etc.

Two months ago, WeChat’s Video Channels went live, which made many users ecstatic about doing Video Channels. With the live broadcasting function, users could interact with fans, operate a variety of content, and even sales. This is more intuitive than simply publishing short videos.

Recently, WeChat Video Channels offers functions of gifting, connecting microphone, and beautifying, which successfully set the foundation of live streaming for users to interact with each other. In addition, WeChat has launched the new version of the WeChat Bean function, which is very similar to the QQ coin. The price is set to be 7 beans per 1 CNY, and it is certain that WeChat Bean is mainly for the gifting functions. As compared to other platforms, WeChat online short video, live broadcasting, and other functions came in at a very late stage in the market. Is it strong enough to compete with other platforms in the market? Will it be the next gold-digging platform?

WeChat Video Channels, Mini Programs and other Functions (Android Phone)

Further Reading: 2020 Chinese Live Social Media Channels

WeChat Being Cautious in Social Media World

With more than 1 billion users, WeChat is currently the most popular social software platform undoubtedly. Zhang Xiaolong, the founder of WeChat and VP of Tencent, is very cautious in pushing the new functions though. He understands well that a little glitch could lead to a huge loss of users. Most important of all, it can lead to trust issues, which is disastrous to Tencent.

Prior to the launch of WeChat Official Accounts, Enterprise Account is already very successful. Yet the subsequent launch of Mini Programs and other applications did not have the expected impact. Being an auxiliary tool for the Official Accounts, the Mini Programs and related Applications failed to create much for WeChat. Pinduoduo1, though, took the advantage of using the Mini Programs to set up the group buying e-commerce and go for viral promotion based on the huge number of users in WeChat. Therefore, instead of rushing to the market, WeChat takes its pace and time to launch the Video Channels to give birth to another successful brand or platform.

Short video and live broadcasting are the hottest at present. Although WeChat Video Channels came in late, Video Channels still received lots of attention immediately after launch. Based on WeChat’s powerful user base and strong communication chain, Video Channels is still the best communication tool in their opinion. A huge number of enterprises, media, and anchors have joined the Video Channels since the launch.

It all thanks to the genius plan of Zhang. He did not bring in all the functions at once. He goes step by step according to the market needs by introducing the new functions in the most suitable time for the users. Somehow, the waiting of new functions accelerated the promotion of Video Channels. So, does the Video Channels have another chance?

Further Reading: Guide of Chinese Social Media Platforms

Zhang Xiaolong’s Concerns

Zhang Xiaolong’s concerns also come from the great success of WeChat. WeChat did too successfully, which made him hesitant to innovate. WeChat Official Accounts set the prelude of self-media, Mini Programs accelerated the integration of industry applications, light application. 

It is not easy to launch a better short video live broadcast platform, at least at this stage. Douyin, Kuaishou, Huya, Douyu, and other self-media platforms have entered the battlefield where the competition is already very fierce. WeChat has to be more innovative and competitive in order to stand out from the crowd.

However, WeChat is really still too jumbled with too many varieties of functions, buttons, and also payment functions. Even with a high frequency of usage, the issue of how to allocate traffic and how to set the entry point still remains uncertain. As long as there is any non-favorable experience from the users, even Zhang cannot take the hit. Therefore, Zhang can only go for cautious attempts, which also explains why the Video Channels does not make all the live broadcast functions in one single shot.

Zhang’s concern lays in the acceptance and recognition of the functions. Applications usually require updates from time to time, which annoys users going to the app store and update. WeChat does not need to bother. Users don’t have to upgrade their WeChat application for an upgraded Mini Program. All the Mini Programs are connected to WeChat as authorized third parties which lighten the application size as well as the frequency of upgrading. Thus, Zhang’s concern only lay on when and what to launch to fulfill the user experiences.

Further Reading: Live Channels & Social Media: Nov China Market

WeChat Video Channels as a Social Media Tool

From short videos to live broadcasting functions, WeChat Video Channels create a more convenient platform for those groups who need to promote and sell with the use of the WeChat social system. After having the live broadcasting function, the platform can better serve user groups and improve the user structure, demographic statistics of WeChat.

The future Video Channels will become more comprehensive. It is expected to also introduce live video recording, playback, and short video e-commerce, live streaming sales, and many more. As long as the follows/subscribes to your Video Channels, you can set up a group, associate with the Official Account, or even set up a social circle directly. The whole chain is then a completion with the structuralized circle and revenue generation. This is, again, the edge of WeChat.

The author believes the Video Channels did come in late. Yet, based on the integrity of the WeChat content ecosystem, the Video Channels can be an advantage for the users. This is the edge of having its own ecological platform. There are huge potential users, platforms, and functional support from the Video Channels, which will inevitably become the next gold-digging platform if nothing goes sideways.

1 Pinduoduo is the mainstream e-commerce application product of the domestic mobile Internet. The third-party social e-commerce platform, which focuses on C2M shopping, was established in September 2015. Users can launch a group with friends, family, neighbors, and can buy quality goods at a lower price.


What is the WeChat’s Video Channels?

WeChat Video Channels is a mini-program that users can make use of the post short videos and/or conduct live streaming. It offers functions of gifting, connecting microphone, and beautifying, which successfully set the foundation of live streaming for users to interact with each other.

What are the most popular short video / live streaming platforms in China?

Douyin, Kuaishou, Bilibili, WeChat Video Channels.

What are the platforms to market business and products in China?

WeChat and Weibo are the basic while video platforms like Douyin and Kuaishou are mostly used to draw public traffic to your own official accounts. Zhihu, Ximalaya are more like knowledge platforms.

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