WeChat, a social network born out of Chinese tech behemoth Tencent, is redefining how China lives, communicates, and does business.

WeChat Wallet, released in August 2013, and Weidian, released in May 2014, have changed the way how startups do business in China. 5-year-old WeChat now has 846 million monthly active users. As witnesses of founder’s success stories leveraging WeChat, TechNode gathered this year’s top stories about WeChat.

1. WeChat Officially Replaces The App Store


A photo posted on Moments by the “father of WeChat” suggests that the upcoming mini-apps may actually be placed on the home screen, not just inside WeChat itself.

2. This Startup Is Using WeChat Chatbots To Scale English Learning


Rikai Labs is using chatbots to boost the scalability of its English education platform. Instead of only interacting with either a computer or a human, the company implements “Artificial Aritificial Intelligence,” which blends the two.

3. Are WeChat Service Accounts Killing Apps In China? 


People outside of China keep thinking they need an app to expand in China, but in China, companies use WeChat Service Accounts. Currently, there are more than 12 million corporate WeChat accounts. One of the earliest adopters of WeChat service accounts is now monetizing their user base.

4. A Day In The Life Of A WeChat-Obsessed User (According To Tencent)


Tencent’s report in October 2015 gave us a view into the life of an imaginary WeChat-obsessed user. You get up at 7’o clock and browse WeChat Moment. At 7:45, while heading towards the office, you read two articles or play games on WeChat. Click on the article to read more about WeChat’s handful of insights.

5. WeChat’s App Within An App: Free At Last From Endless Installing And Deleting 


WeChat mini-apps beta invitations were sent out to developers. These are essentially web apps embedded inside the WeChat app that you can find and use without installing bulky applications on your phone.

6. WeChat Users Have An Obsession With Technology


WeChat public accounts are overwhelmingly dominated by tech, a study by social marketing startup Robin8 has found. Popular keywords on public accounts were mobile phones, design, products, technology and popular tech brands were Apple, Huawei, Tencent, and Alibaba.

7. Weishang Knows Cosmetics: Internet Celebrities Tap Into Cosmetics


Weishang are getting influential in China’s cosmetic sector, largely dominated by overseas cosmetic companies. Internet celebrities are starting their own cosmetic weishang, reaching a turnover of few million RMB a month, leveraging its sales force of hundreds of internet celebrities.

8. Alipay, WeChat Pay Speed Up User Authentication Amid Tightening Regulations


China has been hastening their real-name registration process for online payments. The internet giants behind the country’s biggest payment services are scrambling to get their customers registered before the lockout. New regulations took effect on July 1st this year.

9. WeChat Is Maturing, Use Other Platforms To Drive Traffic


WeChat is now overloaded with content, and it’s getting much harder to get users to follow a WeChat public account. We also introduced an example of a foreign company using other Chinese social network for growth hacking.

10. Alibaba’s 800 Million RMB Challenge To WeChat’s Red Envelope Photo Campaign


On Chinese New Year’s Eve, Ant Financial had thrown 800 million RMB (about $122 million USD) to its users in discounts and money through their online payment system, Alipay.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at evayoo@technode.com