As we introduced earlier, WeChat 5.0 is a major update. It’s finally launched on App Store this morning. The Android version is coming later.

As expected, it has added a game center, payment solution, and scan-to-do-a-lot-of-things capability.

Game center shows games that have been downloaded and that you can download
  • And revenue generation needs a payment solution, called WeChat Payment, to collect money. Bank accounts can be added and bundled to a WeChat account.
  • The empowered scanner built-in that can read and recognize a book, CD or other goods is estimated to make WeChat a more useful tool in the e-commerce market. The scanner also can returns Soso Maps-powered street view, or recognize an English word and translate it into Chinese.
Scanning to translate an English word

And there are more.

  • It brings voice-to-text capability which currently only supports Mandarin. It is powered by the speech recognition technology developed in-house.
  • Also there added an emoticon market, as everyone else, Mobile QQ or Momo, has had. Paid emoticons are priced at RMB 6 each (less than one US dollar.)  As it is well-received in China and other areas in Southeast Asia, hopefully it will be another revenue source to WeChat, just like how those cute stickers generated income for Line.
Emoticon Market

Other changes and improvements include,

  • Official accounts will show in a sub-channel which had some media people worried that articles they want to push to readers cannot show on the home screen anymore.
  • WeChat messages now can be saved. Also it’s easier to add a contact.

The rumored video recognition feature, however, doesn’t appear with this update.  The game center and voice-to-text feature currently are not available with the English version. So is the music recognition feature that was released in the former version.

It’s just a matter of time before WeChat becomes an almighty mobile platform. Behold.

Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com

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22 Comments

  1. The downside is this is not available on the international version yet. So I see everyone playing the space shooting game on the metro and I’m left out 🙁

    1. James, do you read Chinese? If so, here’s a trick. Change your phone language into Chinese, you’ll have the space shooting game immediately with your WeChat!

      1. Hi Tracey, thanks for the idea. I changed the system language to Chinese, didn’t work. But I changed the WeChat app to chinese and voila! it showed up. So no need to change the system language, just the app.

          1. Yeah I’m not sure. I tried again. Maybe because I installed WeChat from US Appstore (iPhone). I will try on my Android phone for trial as well.

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