Today I'll talk about the differences between WeChat and Weixin. Though many people think Weixin is just the Chinese name for WeChat, it isn’t entirely so. Marketers need to know the differences between the two.
Although they share most of the common apps, an interface and functions, these two apps don't belong to the same system and have different backend server systems; the servers for WeChat are separate from the ones for Weixin. This separation allows Weixin and WeChat to have different development speeds according to the market conditions of particular regions.
- Wallet system
There's a huge gap between Weixin and WeChat for financial functions. Even though both applications have the “Wallet”, the actual operations are different. First, financial functions are determined by the wallet region. Weixin operates in the “China wallet region” and WeChat is in the “Foreign wallet region”. These two regions use different currencies and operate under different financial regulations so money-related and third party functions are different in the two systems.
Benefiting from one of the most advanced e-commerce environments in the world, Weixin and third party service providers are able to tailor-make financial functions for Weixin. For example, Weixin users can complete transactions with each other using just their Weixin accounts. They can also book a taxi and pay for it using Weixin. A high degree of flexibility built into the app also allow users to do things like pay their portion of a group's restaurant bill. Many of these functions aren't possible in markets outside of China.
- Searching for accounts
Since Weixin and WeChat use different servers, their users, including subscription accounts and service accounts, are located on different servers. Under the tight control and monitoring of the Chinese government, Weixin users can't find subscription and service accounts registered in WeChat. However, WeChat users can find Weixin’s subscription and service accounts. The only way for Weixin users to access WeChat's subscription and service accounts is by going through the links of those accounts which are shared by WeChat users.
This is a vital difference that should be noted by foreign marketers; having a WeChat account doesn't mean you can communicate with your potential Chinese customers directly. For that you need a Weixin account.
- Other functions
Other functions such as the game center and chat functions are slightly different between the two applications. For example, you can see signs of typing when others are typing and the gaming center in different regions contains different games.
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