WeChat still unstoppable, grows to 697m active users

By Steven Millward for techinAsia

WeChat, Tencent’s popular messaging app, is still growing fast. It added nearly 200 million monthly active users (MAUs) in the past year.

WeChat had 697 million MAUs at the end of December, said the company today in its Q4 2015 earnings report.

WeChat still unstoppable, grows to 697m active users

Tencent did not disclose how many of WeChat’s users are in mainland China versus other areas. But it’s clear that WeChat is focused on mainland China from the number of the app’s features that are limited just to its home nation, such as online and in-store payments via the WeChat Pay feature.

Pay it forward

Due to the growing popularity of using WeChat for payments, including for transferring money between friends, the company choked back US$46.1 million in bank handling fees in January alone. The app charges no fee when making payments or doing transfers regardless of whether the money comes from a user’s WeChat digital wallet or from an attached debit or credit card.

Monthly active users of WeChat Pay have grown seven-fold from 2014 to 2015, but no precise figure was given.

I tried to use only WeChat to pay for stuff for a whole day

Using WeChat Pay at a coffee shop in China.

WeChat Pay and Alibaba’s Alipay are China’s two largest epayments rivals, both of which have made in-store mobile payments common across the country. Apple Pay entered the frayearlier in the year.

Tencent pulled in US$3.28 billion from smartphone gaming in 2015, mainly from casual games linked to WeChat and Tencent’s older instant messaging app QQ. That’s up 53 percent on the 2014 tally.

No figure is available for overall revenue from WeChat.

Tencent’s full Q4 2015 report is here (PDF link).

The article first appeared in TechinAsia