WeChat, the prevailing mobile messaging app in China and some regions in Southeast Asia, isn’t capable of calling contacts or mobile lines. That’s where EasyChat (Yixin in Chinese), a competitor jointly launched by Netease and China Telecom one month ago, thinks it can differentiate itself from WeChat.

The new version of EasyChat allows users to call local landline and mobile lines from outside mainland China, with 60 minutes for free. It is just in time for the upcoming China’s National Day holidays that many Chinese will travel overseas.

Another major feature added to the new version is the app will send text or voice messages to your contacts’ mobile phones if your phone isn’t connected to the Internet. The previous version was already capable of sending text or voice messages to other mobile phones’s SMS boxes. That’s also what WeChat cannot do without help from a telecom operator.

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Tracey Xiang

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