Doing Business on WeChat isn’t so Easy

Doing Business on WeChat isn’t so Easy
by Tracey Xiang – Mar 18, 2014
Zaocanjia — nice breakfast in Chinese, is a deliver to home breakfast service and only available through WeChat. Zaocanjia team make and deliver breakfast every morning to subscribers to its WeChat subscription account. A third-party company developed a system with WeChat API to collect and manage orders.The company chose WeChat for they think it costs little to reach users and sell goods to them there, said Liu Zhipeng, founder of Zaocanjia, at a recent event organized by local tech mediaGeekPark. Quality content sent to subscribers would encourage them share certain messages or Zaocanjia’s account to their WeChat friends.
Launched in October 2013, Zaocanjia has encountered various problems in less than half a year. WeChat Payment, which enables one-click payments within WeChat, requires a deposit of 50,000 yuan, an amount a startup like Zaocanjia cannot afford, according to an interview with local tech blog ifanr (in Chinese). To solve it, Zaocanjia would set up a Taobao site and direct users to pay with Alipay — both are services by Alibaba.
Before long Alibaba would block WeChat all together that Taobao pages couldn’t load within WeChat any more, let alone processing payments through Alipay. Now Zaocanjia has to ask users to buy prepaid virtual cards on Taobao before ordering breakfast.

Many are worried that WeChat would cultivate its own if certain businesses grow to be too big — its parent company Tencent is notorious cloning and killing other Internet services. Dr. Mathew McDougall, founder and CEO of China-based social content marketing agency Digital Jungle, doesn’t recommend businesses to totally depend on WeChat but redirect users acquired on WeChat to their own websites or apps. He believes there will always be new major social platforms — he has witnesses the rises and falls of Chinese social services such as Renren and Sina Weibo, so businesses would better build content or services somewhere else and then build presence in places where users would flow to.
Some Chinese services must agree with him that they are redirecting their WeChat audience to webapps of their own — for users it doesn’t feel it’s somewhere else but next pages after a WeChat page.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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