As Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival is approaching, the Western Union Company, a leader in global payment services, has introduced a promotional deal unique to U.S.-based users of WeChat, a Facebook-like instant messaging service developed by China’s Tencent Holdings Limited.
From September 5 to September 30, 2016, consumers who send money from U.S. to elsewhere can finish the transferal and receiving process within minutes. International money transferal sent from the States via Western Union’s official public account on WeChat can be waived from any transaction fee. Meanwhile, during the promotional campaign, users who successfully transfer money via Western Unino’s WeChat account and follow the account will be rewarded with free 111 minutes’ WeChat Out chat time with their friends and families in China. WeChat Out is a service launched by Tencent in January 2016 that allows make low-rate calls to mobile phones and landlines around the globe via WeChat.
Similar to many other WeChat campaign, users need to click the “Discover” button on the top right concern of the mobile app and select “Scan QR Code” in order to enter the event page (QR code inserted above). Once the page is loaded, users can follow the English instructions to fill out the money transferal form. When the transferal is finished, users can click “Get Your WeChat Out Minutes” in the event page and receive a code for free WeChat Out minutes.
This campaign is another example of both WeChat and Western Union’s globalization urges in recent years.
WeChat and Western Union first cut a deal in November 17, 2015 which allows WeChat’s U.S. users to send money cross-border to 200 countries and territories, all while riding Western Union’s rails, making the China’s Tencent-owned social media platform into a serious player in the global money transferral and payment business. WeChat just passed 800 million monthly active users (MAU), according to Tencent’s latest quarterly finance report. The Western Union Company completed 255 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $85 billion of principal between consumers, and 484 million business payments.
International Giants Should Study WeChat’s Abilities to Monetize User Engagement
International companies, including instant messaging giants, are getting more and more interested in learning from WeChat’s success in monetizing its messaging service. While WeChat’s number of oversea MAUs is unclear and it is growing more slowly than Facebook Messenger, it demonstrates stronger abilities to turn messaging and user engagement into cash.
For starter, users spend an average of 70 minutes per day using WeChat in China while Facebook says its users spend 50 minutes per day between Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger combined. A more straightforward statistics is average revenue per user (ARPU), a term used primarily by consumer communications and networking companies to measure the total revenue divided by the number of subscribers.
As of August 2015, WeChat’s 1.1 billion registered accounts generated an ARPU of $7 USD per year. Although WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger had larger user bases around the world, both instant messaging service have little ability to monetize their services as compared to WeChat at the moment.