GBWhatsApp, WeChat, LINE: Big PK
They are all green logos, and they are all distribution centers for information, voice, and social interaction, and they all enjoy an absolute market share in the local market. WeChat in China, GBwhatsapp in the United States, and LINE in Japan can be said to be three important representatives of global instant messaging software.
On the surface, there is no difference between them, and they are all solving the problem of people's timely communication. But with the development of the mobile Internet, they have grown and expanded on the three lands. Behind the development is the increasing differentiation of the three products in terms of functions and business models. To investigate the reasons for their differentiation, product thinking and cultural background are the keys to their respective splendor.
Round 1: WeChat and LINE are omnipotent, but GBWhatsApp pursues minimalism
WeChat is very feature-rich, covering every aspect of our lives, from video calls to mobile payments, and the adjacent LINE as well.
However, it seems that every crossover of LINE is half a beat slower than WeChat.
LINE was born in 2011, when Japan's earthquake and tsunami disrupted communications, so LINE is based on free voice calls. At first, Japanese friends could not use LINE to make video calls. This feature was not developed by LINE until 2013. On the other hand, LINE’s taxi-hailing, take-out, and payment functions were not launched until the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015.
On the other side of the ocean, GBWhatsApp, which originated in the United States, is very different from WeChat and LINE in terms of functions. "Minimalism" is the dogma that GBWhatsApp espouses. No takeout orders, no ads, no audio and video…
This can not help but think of MSN, which once occupied 60% of the global market share. Both MSN and GBWhatsApp are very simple products: simple to set up, typical tool properties, and functionality focused on helping users send and receive messages. And such minimalist products don't stop there in the United States. Snapchat, which is famous for "burning after reading", is also as simple as it can get. These communication products that grew up in the United States have not developed in the direction of platform, but maintained their original characteristics.
At a deeper level, the Puritan thinking and the development of the mobile Internet are not as fast as China, and the American people prefer to “place orders” on the PC side, probably because the functions of the American instant messaging software represented by GBWhatsApp are concentrated.
Round 2: GBWhatsApp users have the most coverage
The image above shows the most popular instant messengers around the world. Clearly, the yellow WhatsApp takes up the big swathes. It's hard to say how much better GBWhatsApp is overseas than its rivals. There are three important reasons that determine WhatsApp's advantage:
First, it is preconceived. Take the African market as an example, GBWhatsApp is the first intruder, and the order of "first" also means the first opportunity. After all, communication software is still a communication tool between people. Once the relationship between people is established on one tool, it is difficult for other tools to cut in, so that the relationship chain can be fully transferred. At the same time, one link of the relationship chain leads to multiple links. As long as the initial relationship chain is established first, there will be more and more users in the future like a snowball.
Second, English is the common language. Such an innate advantage is undeniable. There are similarities in cultural systems, religions, and living habits behind the common language, which will become important weights for overseas expansion.
Third, the US's global discourse power is still strong. Maybe you still remember that back then you thought QQ was a "thing" for children, and only MSNs using the American style were the elites in the workplace. This is the embodiment of America's strong discourse power. This innate "high-end style" allows GBWhatsApp to gain fans as soon as it is launched.
In addition, the advantage of platform-based communication software is to connect with life, but in foreign countries, the cost of expansion is high, and the level of mobile Internet is not high, so it is difficult to truly replicate the local advantages. In this case, GBWhatsApp, which has a single function, can be favored when it is lightly loaded.
Round 3: Big Differences in Income Structure
In the first quarter of 2016, LINE's revenue from communications and content accounted for 64.51%, and its revenue from advertising reached 35.49%. The revenue growth in the communication segment was mainly due to the increase in sales of emoticons. Content revenue mainly comes from LINE games. Other aspects include merchandise sales, character copyrights, etc.
Similar to LINE, games and advertisements are important revenue sources for WeChat, but in terms of emoji stickers, WeChat is currently unable to surpass LINE.
GBWhatsApp has taken another path to revenue: paid. The $0.99 annual usage fee isn't much, but the trickle of money makes for a huge amount of money.
This difference does not only occur in the field of instant messaging. "Free" seems to be the basic setting of Internet products for Chinese netizens, while in Europe and the United States, "paid" has a long history and foundation. People's perception of advertising also varies.
In general, WeChat, LINE and GBWhatsApp all have their own advantages, and instant messaging software is still on the rise. The reduction of data tariffs and the popularity of mobile devices will bring more users. They will also sail away with such a "mobile Internet ticket".