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 media GeekPark. Quality content sent to subscribers would encourage them share certain messages or Zaocanjia’s account to their WeChat friends.

Interface of Zaocanjia WeChat Account

Interface of Zaocanjia WeChat Account

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.