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WeChat 微信

The all-in-one daily app for EVERY Chinese.

  • Initial release: 21 January 2011 by Tecent

  • Country: China

  • Available languages:17

  • Users: Over 1.2 billion

wechat app

WeChat, launched by Tencent in 2011, has evolved into a multi-functional "super app". Initially, just for messaging, it now handles payments, food orders, hotel bookings, games, shopping, and more. By 2022, WeChat had 1.26 billion active users, with 77% of China's internet users relying on it, making it the top social platform. Over 90% of professionals in China use WeChat for work communication.

WeChat offers various business tools, including Official Accounts and Mini Programs, enabling companies to reach customers effectively. Differences between WeChat and its international version remain. For instance, while Mainland users can access all features, Hong Kong users can only use Service Accounts and WeChat Pay in HKD.

WeChat's public platform has four main types:

  1. Subscription Accounts: For daily info broadcasts.

  2. Service Accounts: For customer interaction and services, suitable for businesses.

  3. WeCom: An internal communication tool for businesses, similar to Slack.

  4. Mini Programs: Embedded apps for diverse functions like gaming and shopping(WeChatpay微信支付), easy to develop and use without downloading.


wechat pay

WeChat Pay is a versatile in-app payment feature that enables users to swiftly handle transactions on their mobile phones. Optimized for both online and offline businesses, WeChat Pay continues to expand its reach and capabilities. Currently, WeChat Pay is available in Mainland China, Hong Kong, the U.S., South Africa, and several other regions, with plans for further expansion in the near future.

WeChat Pay Real-Name Verification

Non-bank payment institutions' online payment services must implement a real-name registration system. Users must register with their real names to use online payment services, including virtual red envelopes.


Acceptable identification for personal users includes resident ID cards, household registration books (for those under 16), Mainland Travel Permits for Hong Kong and Macau Residents, Mainland Travel Permits for Taiwan Residents, foreign passports, and permanent residence permits for foreigners.


Access WeChat Pay for Real-name AuthenticationClick “Me” > “Services” > “Wallet” > “ID Info” to finish the real-name authentication. For foreigners, a passport is accepted.

Link a Bank Card

Don't have a Chinese bank account? You can link your foreign credit card and join the WeChat Pay party. But hold your horses—there are a few quirks. WeChat Pay only loves foreign credit cards, not debit cards. WeChat currently supports six major international bank cards: AMEX, VISA, Discover Card, Diners Club, JCB, and MasterCard.


*Note that you can use it to purchase in stores, but sending money to friends and family is a no-go with foreign credit cards. So, enjoy your WeChat Pay shopping spree, but don’t plan on gifting cash to your pals just yet!


In 2014, WeChat introduced the virtual red envelope feature, inspired by the traditional Chinese custom of giving "lucky money" during the Lunar New Year. This feature allows users to send red envelopes to friends or group chats, with options for equal or random distribution (lucky draw). This feature significantly boosted WeChat Pay's usage. Within a month, WeChat Pay users grew from 30 million to 100 million, with 20 million red envelopes sent during the New Year period. By the 2016 Lunar New Year, 3.2 billion red envelopes were sent, including 409,000 at midnight alone.

WeChat Red Envelopes

WeChat "Moments 朋友圈"


"Moments" is a popular social feature on Tencent's WeChat, also known as “朋友圈Friends' circle” launched with version 4.0 on April 19, 2012. Users can post text and images and share articles or music from other apps. Friends can comment or like these posts, but only mutual friends can see each other's interactions.


Feature Settings: WeChat has a sneaky little setting – the "Moments visibility for 3 days" switch. It's hidden away in the settings and might be overlooked by the lazy majority. However, over a billion users have enabled this feature, making it the most used switch on WeChat. It's a handy self-defence mechanism, letting you keep your life semi-private with minimal effort.

Official Surveillance Network?

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Here's where it gets intriguing: Chinese users register under Weixin, their data is stored in China, and they navigate strict content regulations. Meanwhile, international users register under WeChat, with data hosted in the Netherlands (for EU users) or Singapore, enjoying more relaxed rules.

Weixin accounts are closely monitored and censored for politically sensitive content, fitting into China's comprehensive surveillance network. On the flip side, interactions between Weixin and WeChat users are a fascinating dance, governed by both services' terms and privacy policies, blending stringent control with a touch of global leniency.


The all-in-one daily app for most Japanese, Taianese, and Thailand.

  • Initial release: 21 June 2011 by Naver, NHN Japan

  • Country: Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand

  • Available languages:17

  • Users: Over 400 million worldwide

LINE app
line app

LINE was born in June 2011 by NHN Japan under mother company - Naver. After the devastating 2011 earthquake in Japan, Lee Hae-jin wanted a way to stay in touch with loved ones during emergencies. Hence, LINE's "read receipt" feature was created to confirm safety during disasters. In February 2012, LINE launched in Taiwan. By March, Windows and Mac versions were available, and in December. 

Today, it boasts over 400 million users globally, making it a top favorite in Taiwan, Japan and Thailand.  LINE lets users send messages and watch live streams for free over the internet. Plus, it offers shopping, mobile payments, taxi services, travel info, news, and more—all in one app.

line creative functions

Source: LINE Creative

 Line also offers a variety of cool services like Line Pay for your digital wallet needs, Line Today for the latest news, Line TV for your favorite shows, and Line Manga and Line Webtoon for all your comic cravings. It's not just a messaging app, more of an all-in-one digital hub!

Adorable Chat Stickers


Line, the app that makes millions selling stickers

 Users send over a billion stickers per day.

What sets LINE apart? Its adorable collection of over 250 chat stickers that users can't get enough of! The app's cute and quirky stickers struck a chord, leading to its rapid rise in popularity, unlike WhatsApp and other social-heavy apps.Riding this wave of success, LINE expanded its brand, creating stories, animations, and merchandise around its sticker characters. Today, LINE's physical stores have become trendy hotspots, drawing crowds and turning the app into a major cultural phenomenon.However, LINE's journey hasn't been all smooth sailing. It faced significant challenges breaking into the US market, dominated by giants like WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter. With little room to grow, LINE shifted focus to Asia. Nevertheless, LINE's unique charm and strategic pivot to its core markets have solidified its status as more than just an app—it's a cultural icon!

LINE Official Account

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LINE Official Account allows businesses, from large corporations to individual stores, to create dedicated accounts. In Japan alone, there are over 300,000 Official Accounts across various industries.

The Benefits: 

  • Increased Visibility

    • Boost visibility and reach millions of users in Japan and Asia.

  • Customer Engagement

    • Communicate directly with customers, fostering stronger relationships.

  • Marketing Opportunities

    • Send promotional messages and content to followers, driving sales.

  • Customer Support

    • Provide customer support, enhancing satisfaction and loyalty.

  • Service Integration

    • Integrate with LINE's payment and CRM systems for a comprehensive customer experience.

LINE Official Accounts seamlessly blend into users' daily lives, allowing businesses to interact with customers as naturally as they would with friends and family.


The all-in-one daily app for EVERY Korean.

  • Initial release: 21 June 2011 by Naver, NHN Japan

  • Country: Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand

  • Available languages:17

  • Users: Over 400 million worldwide

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Every Korean has Kakao Talk.

Since its launch in March 2010, KakaoTalk has skyrocketed in popularity, quickly becoming the go-to messaging app in Korea's tech-savvy society. With over 95 per cent of Korea's estimated 43 million smartphone owners using the app, KakaoTalk has become synonymous with mobile messaging, just like the Japanese have Line and the British have WhatsApp. Kakao Talk offers features similar to QQ and WeChat, allowing you to add friends via your contact list, chat one-on-one or in groups, make voice and video calls, manage your schedule, and send multimedia messages. But Kakao Talk is more than just a messaging app. It also provides content search, shopping, and business platform features. Brands can create free business accounts on the Kakao Channel to share products and services, send ads, and offer discounts to followers.


Source: Korea Bizwire

Kakao Shopping

KakaoTalk makes shopping a breeze with its Kakao Shopping feature. Accessible from the fourth tab of the app, this feature allows users to quickly and easily browse a wide range of products. Whether you're looking for the latest fashion, tech gadgets, or everyday essentials, Kakao Shopping provides a seamless shopping experience directly within the KakaoTalk app. Additionally, Kakao Shopping Live enhances the customer journey by offering live commerce, where customers can watch live product demonstrations and make purchases via Kakao Pay. This integrated experience leads to a positive brand interaction and makes shopping more engaging and convenient.


Kakao Mail

KakaoTalk isn't just for messaging; it's also a powerful email tool. With Kakao Mail, users can access and manage their emails without leaving the app. This feature offers convenient email notifications, ensuring you never miss an important message. Additionally, Kakao Mail includes a helpful assistant named Jordy, who can assist with simple replies, making email exchanges faster and more efficient.


Now you have a full understanding of trendy social media in East Asia before you start texting Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. We know this can be intimidating but it is important to remember that they will respect you for trying to communicate with them in their language using their social media.

For more help mastering this situation and others, you can book some lessons with us. We also run tons of cultural experiences so get ready to immerse yourself in the Eastern world!  

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