WeChat is commonly referred to as a messaging service by foreign media, but Chinese users know that the massively popular app, which recorded over 697 million monthly active users as of 2015, is far more than just an IM tool.

Tencent, the parent company of WeChat, rarely gives many insights into the wealth of data behind China’s most popular messaging app. They released a report in Oct. 2015 at Tencent Global Partner Conferences, giving a handful of insights, along with an imagined day in the life of a WeChat-obsessed user:

  • 7:00 Get up — Browse WeChat Moment
  • 7:45 Head towards the office — Read two articles or playing games on WeChat while commuting
  • 8:30 Arrive at the office — Buy breakfast with WeChat Payments.
  • 9:00 Start work — Handling messages from WeChat group for work
  • 10:00 Break — Browse WeChat Moments (similar to a Facebook feed) and chat with friends
  • 12:00 Lunch —Pay for meals through WeChat payment
  • 12:45 Afternoon Break— Shopping on JD, which has level-one access on WeChat, and chat with friends
  • 17:00 Head home — Browse WeChat Moments
  • 18:00 Shop on the way home — Buy groceries with WeChat Payment
  • 20:00 Leisure hour — Read posts on WeChat, shop on JD, chat with friends
  • 22:00 Go to bed — Chat with friends and grab an red envelope, a lucky money giving feature.

According to the report, WeChat users are most active around 22:00, a bit earlier than 2014’s 22:30. WeChat users made a combined 280 million minutes worth of calls per day using the video and voice calling functions, the data shows.

Some 60% of WeChat users are young people aged between 15 and 29. On average, they have 128 friends, which will increase by 20% after getting first job. The demographic accounts for 58% of cross-regional calls and their peak-shopping period occurs between 10am and 10pm.

There’s also a gender imbalance in consumption behaviors of WeChat users, but the trend tilts towards male customers, rather than female spenders. The report shows male WeChatters spend 30% more than their female counterparts.

In terms of reading habits, post-90s users have an appetite for entertainment news, while post-80’s gen prefers international and local politics, and the post-60s generation preferred what Tencent dubbed “鸡汤文化,” meaning ‘chicken soup for the soul’ articles.

In terms of regional distribution, WeChat users are still skewed toward larger cities. Their penetration rate in first and second-tier cities stands at 93 percent and 69 percent respectively. The app still only has a 50 percent penetration rate in third to fifth-tier cities, according to Tencent.

Correction (7/22/2016 17:19): This post was updated to correct a mistake. Tencent’s data was announced in October 2015, not July 21, 2016.

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via lixin@sixthtone.com or Twitter.

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