For a long time, people used to think of WeChat as the English name of Weixin (微信). However, Weixin and WeChat are actually two separate entities, targeting two different user groups in the way of accessible contents and features. To make it simple, you can see Weixin and WeChat as two different versions of the same app. Here we list some key questions regarding their differences:
Which regions and markets do they cover respectively?
Weixin is the Chinese domestic version, focusing on mainland China market.
WeChat is the international version, facing the overseas markets other than mainland China.
What determines the version you have?
You can download Weixin/WeChat in any app store anywhere in the world. You will be given the version based on the mobile number that you used to register the account for the first time. If your number is a Chinese mobile number (+86), you will get Weixin with full access to all the features in the app. But if you register your account with a non-Chinese mobile number, for example, a Norwegian number (+47), you will be assigned an international version, here referred to as WeChat.
What are the main differences between Weixin and WeChat in functions for doing business?
The Wallet and the Cards and Offers
As compared to Weixin, the WeChat doesn’t have the Wallet and the Cards and Offers functions. And these two functions are normally used by business or individuals for mobile payment, sending or receiving coupons or tickets, bounding electronic membership or VIP cards in mainland China. They are the entrance of the money transactions and important tools for brands to provide benefits to their customers.
The Official Accounts
Since Weixin and WeChat are using different servers, the data of these two versions are stored in two different places. If you registered your official account trough WeChat international version, then your account will not be seen or subscribed by a weixin mainland user, and due to the strict censorship regulations, the mainland weixin users cannot join any campaigns launched by your official account resisted with WeChat international. However, the WeChat international users are free to see and subscribe to the weixin official account and join the campaigns and promotions in mainland China.
Therefore, if your business is targeting mainland China, it is suggested that you registered your official account through Weixin, which is the domestic version. And you will be able to integrate and utilise the resources and promote your brand in China.
Photo credit: ZUO DONGCHEN/AP IMAGES