Cape Town - 131201 - WeChat (Chinese: ??; pinyin: Weixìn; literally "micro message") is a mobile text and voice messaging communication service developed by Tencent in China, first released in January 2011. The app is available on Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and Symbian platforms.. Picture: David Ritchie

Cape Town - Social media has revolutionalised the way people communicate. Through apps such as Twitter, Mxit and Facebook, we share anything from pictures to thoughts and videos with anyone, anywhere in the world.

But what of those who want the benefits of sharing aspects of their lives while still keeping their privacy intact?

WeChat, a new social communications app, says this is the gap it is trying to fill with its South African launch.

Brett Loubser, managing director of WeChat South Africa, said it was a social communication app and not a “social network”.

“The reason it’s called a ‘communication application’ and not a ‘social network’ is that it has been designed for private sharing of content with your friends.”

He said WeChat allowed people to share pictures with friends on a timeline known as “moments” and not with the general public.


According to an article in the Guardian on teenagers moving away from Facebook and getting into messenger apps, WeChat has about 200 million users in China alone. (

Meanwhile Whatsapp, which was started in 2009, handles more than 10 billion messages a day and has about 250 million users worldwide.

Loubser said WeChat started operating in the middle of last year and had grown to just over 400 million users worldwide.

“We have seen for many years now that most people are shifting toward using text messaging in preference to voice calls. WeChat allows people to send messages at ultra-low cost, while enhancing the messaging experience.”

The app is available in all African countries, although the company is initially focusing on South Africa. - Cape Argus