WeChat Edges Closer to Internet Dominance with Launch of 'WeChatpedia'

    Launch of new WePage function for brands (dubbed 'WeChatpedia') takes the mega-app one step closer to a technology takeover in China.
    Photo: VCG
    Tamsin SmithAuthor
      Published   in Technology

    WeChat, China's self-proclaimed 'app that does everything' now boasts over 1 billion active users, and attempts are being made by the giant to keep users inside of the WeChat world by slowly abolishing any need for competitors. Amid slews of updates and broadening functions, the company's latest takeover effort comes in the form of the new 'WePage', launched last Friday 6 July.

    WePage offers brands and retailers the opportunity to create their own brand landing page on WeChat. Different from official brand accounts, WePage collates and lists all of a brand's information in one place - including official accounts, brand mini-programs, contact information and more. According to co-founder of e-tail group Azoya, Don Zhao, WePage acts as a "WeChatpedia" for brands.

    WeChat's closed ecosystem means that previously, official accounts could only be accessed through users' sharing codes with friends in group chats or on personal WeChat Moments. WeChat launched its Brand Zone feature at the end of 2017, allowing brands for the first time to display their official WeChat account to users who don’t subscribe to their content. Early luxury adopters included Cartier, Gucci, Tiffany, Louis Vuitton, Longchamp, Michael Kors, Swarovski, Montblanc, and Lancôme.

    Brand Zone opened the door to a greater opportunity for luxury brands, enabling them to be listed at the top of search results in a similar way to sponsored posts at the top of Google search pages.

    The launch of the latest WePage function takes this Brand Zone one step further, offering brands the opportunity to have a 'micro-homepage' with a comprehensive listing of information and content.

    Zhao told Jing Daily, "As you know many of WeChat's services are decentralized - you can't really search for them and each of them appears separately (for example a brand's official account & the same brand's mini-programs). I think WePage could be an attempt for WeChat to fix this problem while retaining user experience, it serves as a gathering area for brands and retailers to display all of their services and channels to the customers."

    According to the official announcement by Tencent (WeChat's parent company) last week, the new WePage feature "can not only be easily acquired and created, but also helps your brand to establish closer contact with users." WePage is accessible to all merchants registered in China with trademark protection.

    Another recent update means WeChat users can now buy products listed on e-commerce site in just a few clicks. WePage's new open structure could be the ideal catalyst for further enhancing WeChat's ecommerce capability. Zhao says, "WeChat is trying to form its own ecosystem, to better leverage all the official services into social-commerce. It's like a Tmall flagship store - but it's more than that."

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