WeChat Red Packet, live streaming, floating Window... The ITC team has cherry-picked some of the most significant highlights that have influenced WeChat's success last month. Get the details here!
In Chinese, East, and Southeast Asian countries, red envelopes or red packets are monetary gifts that are given during holidays or special occasions.
The custom of giving Red Packets - or “hongbao” - originates in some of the oldest stories of Chinese New Year. Red represents energy, happiness, and good luck, and scares away evil spirits and bad luck. Those who receive a Red Packet benefit from another safe and peaceful year.
In January 2014, WeChat launched the Red Packet feature, enabling users to send money using a digitized version of the Red envelope.
5 years later, WeChat launches customized Red Packet covers for business accounts. In 2021, these customizable digital covers were made accessible to the public and WeChat’s Red Packets have become extremely popular among China’s digital-focused consumers, as well as for nascent advertising space for brands.
In addition, the cost of customized cover significantly dropped in 2021, from a cost of 10 yuan ($1.54) in the previous years, to less than a yuan nowadays ($0.15).
Brands are now designing their own red packet cover to better connect with their customers on WeChat. In only 5 days this year, from February 11 to February 16, 2021, 30 million unique covers have been created.
During the Chinese New Year last month, Western luxury brands including Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Versace, and others had jumped into the trend. Brands can design their red packet cover and inside pattern to interact with customers throughout the process of opening a digital red envelope. Users of WeChat and its payment system grew to more than 1 billion in 2020.
To push for further engagement rate, brands can also link covers to their Official Accounts and their Mini Programs.
The Fashion Brand Burberry was among the first to create customized Red Packet covers. The band released nine covers and even featured three of them with a brand mascot resembling this year’s Chinese zodiac sign: an Ox. The Brand Mascot was called “Oxberry”.
Gucci has decided to have a product tie-in on their Red Packet’s cover, showcasing their Doraemon collection for the 2021 Chinese New Year. After having registered in the Gucci Mini Program store, users could retrieve their cover after three days. The brand announced that 1.1 million covers were claimed in total.
These new customized Red Packet covers may have pushed Tencent to upgrade their Red Packet feature for the new 8.0.2. WeChat update. This month, there are five main updates: exclusive Red Packets, additional identity on Live Streaming, privacy on Channel, the Floating Window access, and the Mini Program page update.
With the latest update (8.0.2), WeChat introduced exclusive Red Packets. “Exclusive” Red Packet means only the designated receiver in the group chat can open the Red Packet.
When the user sends the Red Packet, the cover displays “[Name]’s exclusive Red Packet”. If others want to open this Red Packet, a message will appear: “Only [Name] can open this red packet”.
This new feature deletes accidental Red Packet opening and prevents confusion and further unnecessary transactions.
Tired of looking for articles you did not finish reading?
WeChat has made it easier for users to find articles by adding them into a section called “Floating Window” which they updated this month.
To add an article in the Floating Window, slowly swipe right and drag it to the bottom right corner. You can still use the previous way to access it by clicking on the 3 dots on the top right corner and choosing “Floating Window”.
After adding your article to the Floating window, users will see two dots on the top left corner. To access the floating window, simply swipe left on your Home tab: all the articles saved will appear.
Users can also delete windows in the floating section. This new update has enabled users to access all floating windows at the same time and greatly improved efficiency.
For now, only articles can be added to the Floating Window. We hope in the future we could also add videos from Channel.
When you swipe down on your WeChat Chat, you have access to an updated WeChat Homepage. In the previous version, users could only access the recent Mini Programs they used.
To see Mini Programs they saved, they had to click on “More”. Below the recently used Mini Program row, the app was showing articles the user recently read.
After the update, Tencent modified the WeChat Homepage to display 3 categories:
Mini Programs I’ve used
My Mini Programs Saved
Recent articles or Live Streaming opened.
This last category, called “Just Now”, contains live streaming and articles the user recently watched or read. With this new update, users can now access their favorite content and programs more easily.
The last WeChat update made some improvements in favor of more privacy when using WeChat Channel and Live Streaming.
Are you getting tired of seeing all your friends’ likes on Channel? Do you want to limit your friends from seeing videos you liked? This update has made all this possible! Simply go into Channel → Settings → click “Privacy” and you will see the following options:
Hide Their Liked Videos,
Hide My Liked Videos, and
Hide Their Channels
If you want to hide someone else’s likes on videos, this new feature is the only way to do it. However, if you want to hide your own likes, you have two ways to do it:
From the new feature: Hide My Liked Videos
By blocking a person in Moments. WeChat automatically synchronizes your Moments block list with the channel, so if you already blocked someone from seeing your moments, they won't be able to see your liked videos either.
Last but not least, you cannot block someone from seeing your channel. All channels are public, but users can still block channels they don’t want to see.
You are now able to watch a Live Streaming on WeChat without making your friends know about it. With the latest WeChat update, you can create a new identity especially to watch Live Streaming.
This new privacy feature is more than welcome for people who don’t want their friends or family to know they are attending a Live Streaming, avoiding possible judgments and giving them more freedom on WeChat.
However, one user can only change their identity once per month and it can only be used in Live Streaming. This new feature is a good initiative to increase privacy on WeChat.
In August 2020, “Wechat Work” was renamed “WeCom”. As it might be confusing for many who are unaware of the change, let’s talk about the evolution of why this change happened and what exactly are some of the new changes that have already taken place.
Among all the enterprise-level applications, Wechat Work has an amazing speed of iteration. In 2019, over 1100 functional iterations were made. Tencent has been constantly making changes to the elements in the interface and on the functions, so WeChat Work is continuously evolving and keeping up to date with the users’ needs. However, nobody really knows why Tencent changed the name from WeChat Work to WeCom as there was no official press release announcing the news.
What we do know is that the change took place in August 2020 as according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Tencent registered the WeCom trademark on August 19, 2020. In early August, Donald Trump, former President of the United States, signed an executive order to impose restrictions on TikTok and WeChat, which went into effect starting September 20, 2020. Reuters reported that 2 Tencent sources claimed the enterprise version of WeChat did not fall under the scope of the WeChat-related transactions ban, which is one of the U.S. measures to crack down on Chinese tech firms and Apps considered to threaten the US’s national security. As a result, many have speculated that Tencent might have wanted to escape ahead of the ban by just “taking on another cover”. However, nobody really knows the reason behind this silent name change.
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