In the latest WeChat test build, China’s dominant messaging app finally added the long expected group call with voice and video into its growing inflating product line.

This feature, first appearing on WeChat Address Book, a standalone app, will be a game changing function and a massive weapon targeting on similar services like Skype, as well as WeChat’s old brother, QQ, which is the most popular desktop instant messenger in China.

Unlike another popular messenger app Line, WeChat is good at integrating (or cramming) unrelated services including a running tracker, ebooks, mobile games, mobile payment and IoT into the one and only WeChat app, and the bigger beast gets, the more users are likely to rely on it.

As for now the group video calling is only available among test users, and can only take up to 9 group members at the same time. China Channel had a test run by people from different cities and were “impressed” by the voice quality and the functionality. As Skype is not an ideal solution under China’s network, WeChat will have good chance at being be the best replacement.

The fact is, WeChat is so dominant that up until now there’s no another group or team communication tool can take hold of a majority share in the market, even in the enterprise field. Many companies in China use WeChat groups to collaborate their team, steering away from less effectove local services.

There are big players in the industry which haven’t quite cracked it, like Alibaba’s Dingtalk which supports group IP calls, and other services like Teambition Talk (简聊) and BearyChat.

You can now grab this test version by opening this link in WeChat (Android only).

Wang Boyuan

Blogger and translator.

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